Stocks Make Gains Despite China Scare

Stocks appear to have recovered from a case of the Mondays. As my colleague Dan Caplinger noted this morning, the broader market has fallen during every Monday session this year -- until today. As of 2:45 p.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 30 points, or 0.21%.

Notably, the Dow has bounced back from an earlier decline that followed worrisome news out of China. At the end of last week, the country's governing body, the State Council, announced a series of heightened regulations impacting the sale of real estate. Home sellers will now be obligated to pay 20% in taxes on the profits from home sales. In addition, as fellow Fool Dan Dzombak discussed earlier, the government will enforce higher down-payment requirements and increased mortgage rates on second homes.

These measures are designed to curb ongoing speculation in the real-estate market. According to a Chinese real-estate agent quoted by The Wall Street Journal: "Home prices will definitely take a hit once the new regulations are in place. In previous rounds of tightening, investors typically took around six months to see how the market is reacting to the new rules."

Here on the domestic front, shares of Caterpillar and Alcoa are leading the Dow lower, down 1.9% and 1.1%, respectively. Both of these companies are heavily tied to real-estate activity in the major economies, as Caterpillar manufacturers construction equipment and Alcoa supplies materials.

Shares of Bank of America are also down today after a federal judge in Manhattan dismissed a lawsuit the nation's second-largest bank had filed against mortgage-bond insurer MBIA . The lawsuit concerned MBIA's decision to cleave its bond insurance unit off of the rest of its operations in order to quarantine the losses therein.

Finally, Wal-Mart is the best-performing component of the blue-chip index, up 1.7% in afternoon trading. According to internal emails, the company has struggled of late due to lagging demand. Wal-Mart was one of four Dow stocks that Dan Caplinger implored readers to watch this March, saying, "Leaked internal emails among Wal-Mart executives referred to 'disastrous sales' for the beginning of 2013, and that prompted the company to temper its guidance for the current quarter." For this reason, "you'll want to watch closely for any further guidance from the retailer about the current quarter, especially as pressure continues to build on lower-income customers."

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