Sales of previously owned homes hit a three-month low in June while new claims for jobless benefits surged last week.


Another report on Thursday showed a gauge of the economy’s prospects fell last month, consistent with views the recovery was cooling and that the slowdown could persist through the end of the year.


The housing data was not as bleak as financial markets had feared, however, and some analysts and investors took heart that home prices rose. U.S. stocks added to gains and all three major indexes were up more than two percent in midmorning trade, while prices for safe-haven government bonds fell.


Existing home sales fell 5.1 percent, the National Association of Realtors said. Financial markets had expected sales to fall 8.1 percent. The median home sales price in June was $183,700, a 1 percent increase from the prior year.


“It’s still a horrible number. It’s just not as horrible as people were looking for. Do you really view that as good news? Apparently the stock market does,” said Mary Ann Hurley, vice president of fixed-income trading at D.A. Davidson & Co. in Seattle.