Landaas & Company newsletter January edition now available.
Advisors on This Week’s Show
(with Max Hoelzl and Joel Dresang)
Week in Review (Jan. 20-24, 2020)
Significant economic indicators & reports
Markets and government agencies closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day
No major releases
The National Association of Realtors said the pace of existing home sales picked up 3.6% in December, rebounding from a decline in November. In an up-and-down 2019, the number of homes sold stayed even at 5.54 million. An economist for the trade group said low inventories continue to trouble prospective home buyers, particularly first-timers. Inventory dropped 8.5% from December 2018 while the median price rose 7.8%, for the 94th consecutive year-to-year increase.
The moving four-week average for initial unemployment claims fell for the third week in a row, dipping to its lowest point since September, still near its 50-year nadir. According to the Labor Department, average jobless applications remain 39% below the average since 1967. Benefits filings have been lower than the long-term level every week since early 2013, a sign that employers are reluctant to let workers go, which should encourage consumer spending.
The Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators slid 0.3% in December, the fourth decline in five months, led by increased numbers of jobless claims and lower applications for housing permits. Manufacturing weakness contributed to a negative growth rate for the last half of 2019, according to the business research group, but strength in financial indicators as well as consumer confidence suggest the economy will expand at a rate of about 2% for the beginning of 2020.
No major releases
MARKET CLOSINGS FOR THE WEEK
- Nasdaq – 9315, down 74 points or 0.8%
- Standard & Poor’s 500 – 3295, down 34 points or 1.0%
- Dow Jones Industrial– 28990, down 358 points or 1.2%
- 10-year U.S. Treasury Note – 1.68%, down 0.14 point