Stocks barely budged. But they continue to sit at their highest level in years.
First the scoreboard:
And now the top stories:
- The economic data was mixed this morning. Existing home sales unexpectedly fell 1 percent to an annualized rate of 4.94 million in December. Economists were expecting a modest gain. But there was good news behind the headline number. Home prices climbed for the 10th straight month.
- The Richmond Fed index, however, was bad news all around. The headline number plunged to -12 in January from last months' reading of 5. The new orders sub-index plummeted to -17 from +10 in December. "Nearly all broad indicators of activity fell into negative territory," they wrote. "Other indicators also suggested additional softness. Capacity utilization turned negative as did the gauge for delivery times, while backlogs continued its downward trend. In addition, finished goods inventories grew at a slightly quicker pace."
- Debt ceiling talks continue to rage on. But it seems that the Republicans are increasingly caving. Club for Growth, a conservatives grassroots organization feared by most Republicans, has given the GOP the green light to vote for the House debt ceiling bill Wednesday.
- One of the big unresolved issues of the fiscal cliff is the sequester, or the massive spending programs that were supposed to expire automatically at the end of the 2012. While many think that cuts would be bad news for stocks, Deutsche Bank's David Bianco thinks otherwise. "As we argue in our note, contrary to most views, we believe significant sequestration is good for stocks and see the main threat to the rally as being the failure to put through any spending cuts in 2013," he wrote. "We see the upcoming deadlines as an opportunity to improve the deficit. Slowing longer-term spending is key to stabilizing debt/GDP, but material 2013 cuts are needed for credibility."
- Market guru Ed Yardeni also reiterated his bullish outlook for the markets. "I’m still targeting 1565 before the middle of the year, matching the record high on October 9, 2007," he wrote. "That would be an increase of 5.3% from Friday's close. My yearend target is still 1665, which would put the index up 16.7% for the year following last year’s gain of 13.4%" Click Here For A Round Up Of All The Recent Bullishness >
- Google and IBM announce Q4 earnings after the closing bell. Follow their releases live on Business Insider.
- Don't Miss: Here's Why Shale Fracking Actually Is An Economic Game-Changer That Cannot Be Overhyped >
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