The S&P 500 was up 0.1% in midday trading to 2,096.26.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.1% to 18,017.24.

The NASDAQ was down 0.5% to 4,933.40.

The yield on a 10-year Treasury bond was up 0.5% to 1.78%.

The price of gold was up 1.5% to $1,254.

REAL ESTATE

Orange County homebuilders were down as a U.S. Commerce Dept. report said housing starts fell 8.8% in March from February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million, its lowest level in six months. First-quarter starts are flat compared with the same period last year.

Irvine-based CalAtlantic Group Inc. was down 2.1% to $34.45 and a $4.1 billion market cap. Irvine-based Tri Pointe Group Inc. was down 1.9% to $12.22 and a $2 billion market cap. Newport Beach-based William Lyon Homes was down 1.4% to $15.63 and a $500 million market cap, and Aliso Viejo-based New Home Co. Inc. was down slightly less than 1% to $12.45 and a $258 million market cap.