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Money Talk Podcast, Friday Dec. 29, 2017

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Landaas & Company newsletter  January edition now available.

Advisors on This Week’s Show

Brian Kilb

Marc Amateis

Kyle Tetting

(with Jason Scuglik and Joel Dresang)

Week in Review (Dec. 25-29, 2017)

Significant economic indicators & reports

Monday

No significant releases

Tuesday

No significant releases

Wednesday

U.S. house prices kept marching higher in October, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index. The 12-month price increase among 20 cities was 6.4%, up from the September pace of 6.2%, about triple the general rate of inflation. A housing economist with Standard & Poor’s cited low interest rates, low unemployment and continued economic growth as spurring home buying. Combined with a relative scarcity of houses for sale, he said, prices have escalated to the point where renting is becoming more attractive than homeownership in some parts of the country.

The Conference Board said consumer confidence retreated in December from a 17-year high but still suggested economic growth into 2018. The business research group said Americans were even more upbeat about current economic conditions but slightly less optimistic about business and financial prospects in coming months.

In a forecast that new federal tax laws will curtail the housing market in 2018, the National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales index showed only modest gains in November. The trade association reported that the index rose 0.2% from October. Year-to-year, the index made its first gain since June, up 0.8%. An economist for the Realtors said limited inventory and escalating prices as stifling some buyers and reduced tax benefits likely would dampen sales next year. The group has forecast 2017 sales of 5.54 million houses, which would be up 1.7% from 2016. It sees 2018 sales declining to 5.52 million.

Thursday

The moving four-week average for initial unemployment claims rose for the second week in a row, although it still hovered near 44-year lows. Labor Department data show the claims level remained 33% below the 50-year average, suggesting employers are still cautious about letting workers go. That helps support a stronger job market, which should raise wages and fuel more consumer spending. Consumer spending drives more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.

Friday

No significant releases

Where the Markets Closed for the Week

  • Nasdaq – 6,903, down 57 points or 0.8%
  • Standard & Poor’s 500 – 2,674, down 9 points or 0.3%
  • 10-year U.S. Treasury Note – 2.40%, down 0.08 point
  • Dow Jones Industrial– 24,726, down 28 points or 0.1%

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