It was a quiet day to kick off a quiet week.
First the scoreboard:
Dow: 13,971, -21.7, -0.1 percent
S&P 500: 1,517, -0.9, -0.0 percent
NASDAQ: 3,192, -1.8, -0.0 percent
And now the top stories:
- There was no major economic reports or earnings announcements today. Furthermore, much of Asia has been closed in observation of the Lunar New Year.
- Speaking of New Years', it's now the year of the snake. UBS's Art Cashin pointed out this morning that years of the snake are the worst. "The prior snake (2001) saw a loss of 13.1% after losing 28% at one point," wrote Cashin. "We saw things like 9/11 (2001), the attack on Pearl Harbor (1941) and the stock market crash (1929)."
- According to a new report from the National Association of Realtors, home prices jumped in Q4 at their fastest pace in seven years. Prices rose in 133 of 152 metro areas. "Home sales are being fueled by a pent-up demand and job creation, along with still favorable affordability conditions and rents rising at faster rates," said the NAR's Lawrence Yun.
- Later this week, we'll learn how retail sales did in January. Some analysts have dubbed the release of this report as the "moment of truth" as we'll find out if the recent expiration of a payroll tax cut had any major impact on consumer spending.
- Jim O'Sullivan, the top U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, thinks that the negative impact of the the payroll tax hike is unlikely to appear in the January numbers. "[D]espite the payroll tax hike on January 1, retail sales appear to have been resilient," wrote O'Sullivan in a note citing Bloomberg data.
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