Flowers are seen with Mount Sinabung spewing ash into the air in the background at Simpang Empat village in Karo district, Indonesia's North Sumatra province, November 25, 2013.
Stocks quietly inched higher today.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 16,072.8 (+0.2, 0.0%)
- S&P 500: 1,802.7 (+0.2, 0.0%)
- Nasdaq: 4,017.7 (+23.1, 0.0%)
And now the top stories:
- Building permits jumped 6.2% in October to an annualized rate of 1.03 million, which is the highest level since June 2008. From Barclays Cooper Howes: "The October jump was largely due to the multi-family component, which printed 414k, while single family permits reached a pace of 620k. On a y/y basis, total permits stand 13.9% higher, suggesting that housing market activity has remained resilient despite the rise in mortgage rates during the past few months."
- According to S&P/Case-Shiller, U.S. home prices jumped 13.29% year-over-year and 1.03% month-over-month in September. The pace of growth was a bit stronger than expected. "The strong price gains in the West are sparking questions and concerns about the possibility of another bubble," said S&P's David Blitzer. However the talk is focused on fear of a bubble, not a rush to join the party and buy."
- The Conference Board's measure of consumer confidence unexpectedly fell to a seven-month low of 70.4 in November from 72.4 in October. "Sentiment regarding current conditions was mixed, with consumers saying the job market had strengthened, while economic conditions had slowed. However, these sentiments did not carry over into the short-term outlook," noted the Conference Board's Lynn Franco. " When looking ahead six months, consumers expressed greater concern about future job and earning prospects, but remain neutral about economic conditions. All in all, with such uncertainly prevailing, this could be a challenging holiday season for retailers . "
- From Capital Economics' Amna Asaf: "Overall, the decline in consumer confidence is a little disconcerting. But confidence hasn't been a very good indicator of consumption growth in recent years and, besides, the improving fundamentals suggest that confidence should rebound soon."
- The Richmond Fed's regional survey of manufacturing activity was surprisingly strong. The main index jumped to 13 in November from 1 in October. Economists were looking for a reading of 4.
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