U.S. stocks were mixed at noon, weighed down by some disappointing results from retail firms, despite some strong data on the housing-homebuilding front.

The Dow Jones Industrial Index fell 94.85 points to 27941.37  while the S&P 500 edged up 0.52 points to 3,122.55 and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 27.19 points to 8,577.12.

U.S. housing starts rose 3.8% in October to a 1.31 million annualized rate. Homebuilding permits climbed 5% to a 1.46 million, the highest level since May 2007.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams said a meeting of Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association that the central bank is comfortable with the current economy. “The economy is in a very good place,” he said “I think we have monetary policy in the right place. The key thing is we’re not locked into any particular decision.”

But Williams also cautioned the economy is facing some headwinds from overseas. “From the domestic point of view, things are strong and continue to be strong, but we’re dealing with various global factors we’re trying to navigate,” he said, citing slower global growth, among other factors. “Growth is starting to slow in the U.S.,” Williams added.

Home Depot (HD) posted a 3% decline  in third-quarter earnings and also reduced guidance for its full-year sales. Kohl’s (KSS) third-quarter results fell below expectations and the company also cut its earnings outlook for the full-year.

TJX (TJX) posted fiscal third-quarter earnings that exceeded analysts’ expectations.

In Hong Kong, about 600 anti-government protesters surrendered to police at the Polytechnic University campus in Kowloon overnight.

Overnight, Asian markets finished mixed. The Hang Seng of Hong Kong jumped 1.55%, the Shanghai Composite climbed 0.85% and the Nikkei 225 shed 0.53%

European markets finished mixed with the FTSE 100 up 0.22% while Germany's DAX rose 0.11% and France's CAC 40 slipped 0.35%.

Crude oil futures were down 2.38% to $55.69 per barrel and Brent crude fell 1.83% to $61.30. Gold futures were up 0.07%.

The euro was up 0.06% to $1.079 while the pound sterling fell 0.18% to $1.2930.