Money Talk Podcast, Friday Jan. 3, 2020
Landaas & Company newsletter January edition now available.
Advisors on This Week’s Show
(with Max Hoelzl)
Week in Review (Dec. 30th, 2019 – Jan. 3rd, 2020)
SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC INDICATORS & REPORTS
Pending home sales rebounded in November, rising 1.2% from October following a 1.7% monthly decline. The National Association of Realtors reported that its index of contract signings was up 7.4% from November 2018. The trade group credited low unemployment and low mortgage rates for fueling demand for housing. It cited six straight months of diminishing supply to continuing to increase prices, which are projected to rise 5% in 2019, more than twice the rate of general inflation.
Another measure of housing prices also continued to outpace overall living costs. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index rose 2.2% in the 12 months ended Oct. 31. The 20-city composite index increased for the third month in a row after hitting a seven-year low of 2.04% in July. After more than a year of decelerating price increases, a housing economist for S&P called the latest data “reassuring.”
The Conference Board blamed weakened expectations for a slightly lower level of consumer confidence in December. The business research group said that its survey-based index suggests that the economy has not shown signs of weakening, but growth doesn’t appear to be gaining momentum, either.
Markets and government closed for New Year’s Day
The Labor Department said the four-week moving average for initial unemployment claims rose for the fourth week in a row to the highest level in nearly two years. Still, the 233,250-claims average remained below the 52-year average, illustrating historic tightness in the U.S. labor market.
U.S. factories remained in a recession in December, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index. The monthly gauge, based on purchase manager surveys, suggests the industrial sector contracted for the fifth month in a row. The index reading dipped to its lowest level since June 2019, at the end of the Great Recession.
The Department of Commerce reported that construction spending rose 0.6% in November to an annual rate of $1.32 billion. The pace was 4.1% ahead of its year-ago level. Growth since October centered on increased spending on residential construction, particularly single-family houses.
MARKET CLOSINGS FOR THE WEEK
- Nasdaq – 9021, up 14 points or 0.2%
- Standard & Poor’s 500 – 3235, down 5 points or -0.2%
- Dow Jones Industrial– 28633, down 12 points or 0.0%
- 10-year U.S. Treasury Note – 1.79%, down 0.09 point