Ballerinas from the New York Ballet's production of 'The Nutcracker' tour the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, December 24, 2013.
It's another all-time high for the U.S. stock market.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 16,357.5 (+62.9, +0.3%)
- S&P 500: 1,833.3 (+5.3, +0.2%)
- Nasdaq: 4,155.4 (+6.5, +0.1%)
And now the top stories :
- There wasn't a lot of action in the markets, which closed at 1:00 p.m. ET today. But the S&P and Dow both closed at new record highs. And it came on the back of more encouraging economic data.
- Durable goods orders beat expectations and surged 3.5% in November, largely driven by strong aircraft orders. Excluding transportation, orders jumped 1.2%, which beat expectations for a 0.7% gain. Nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft — an indicator of business spending — exploded 4.5%; economists were expecting a modest 0.7% gain.
- "The economy is really cranking now," said Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi's Chris Rupkey. "Business spending on equipment, capex, is a small part of the economy 5 or 6%, but it is this equipment that enables companies to meet consumer demand for their products and services so it is absolutely a critical element for growth. It is the fuel the economy needs to keep moving higher."
- However, GMP Securities' Adrian Miller noted that capex may have gotten a boost from companies taking advantage of expiring tax breaks. " we must remember that there are two expiring tax programs relating to investing in R&D and depreciation tax credit that allows companies to write off 50% of equipment purchases that expires at the end of the year," wrote Miller. "So we are likely seeing a rush of companies taking advantage of the looming deadline effectively pulling forward business spending. "
- New home sales were much higher than expected. While they declined in November, the annualized pace of sales was at 464,000 units versus expectations for 440,000. October's number was revised up to 474,000 from an earlier estimate of 444,000, and September was revised up to 403,000 from 354,000. " The acceleration in the pace of sales has pushed inventory levels lower, and at 168,000 in November, inventory is 4.3 months of sales, equal to months’ supply in June," noted Barclays' Michael Gapen. "We believed the recovery in housing would prove resilient to the rise in mortgage rates observed in recent months, and we read the November new home sales data as consistent with this view."
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