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Morning Market Roundup: U.S. Stock Futures Up, Goldman Revenue Down, Home Building Slows

Here’s what’s important in the financial world this morning:

U.S.: Stock futures are rising as major U.S. companies post first-quarter earnings above Wall Street expectations and with strong numbers expected from the government on both housing and factories.

Dow Jones industrial average futures are up 62 points to 12,912 and Standard & Poor's 500 index futures are up 7.1 points at 1,371. Nasdaq composite futures are up 9.25 points to 2,673.

Goldman: Goldman Sachs more than doubled its first-quarter profits for common shareholders and announced plans to raise its dividend Tuesday.

The strong results masked other problems, including a 16 percent decline in revenue. Also, the jump was largely a quirk related to repaying Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway last year. To make up for that, Goldman turned to cost-cutting.

The storied investment bank slashed 3,000 workers over the year, or about 8 percent of its work force. It cut back on salaries, trimmed occupancy costs and paid less in brokerage fees, cutting total expenses by 14 percent. Average compensation per employee, which includes benefits, fell to $135,000 for the quarter, down from $148,000 a year ago.

Revenue from financial advising, where the bank advises big companies and investors on mergers and acquisitions, was one of the few areas to record a revenue gain, 37 percent.

Revenue from underwriting stock and bond sales fell 27 percent. Revenue from trading fell 14 percent, hurt by lower fees and revenue from the division that trades bonds, currencies and commodities. Total revenue fell to $9.9 billion from $11.9 billion, though that beat the $9.4 billion that analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting.

Homes: U.S. builders started work on fewer homes in March after they sharply cut back on apartment construction. But builders requested the most permits for future projects in 3 1/2 years, suggesting many anticipate the housing market could improve over the next year.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that builders broke ground at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 654,000 homes last month. That's down 5.8 percent from February. Apartment construction, which can fluctuate sharply from month to month, fell nearly 20 percent. Single-family homebuilding was mostly unchanged.

Building permits, a gauge of future construction, rose 4.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 747,000. That's the highest level since September 2008.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

One last thing…
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