Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Stocks weather mixed economic news

Stocks rose Tuesday morning despite a raft of mixed economic reports and lingering economic concerns.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) was up 0.25% about 90 minutes into the session. The Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX) index advanced 0.36%, and the Nasdaq composite (COMP) rose 0.47%.

Stocks slumped Monday after Toyota (TM) warned it will suffer an operating loss next year and Credit Suisse downgraded General Motors (GM, Fortune 500). Concerns about fourth-quarter corporate results and falling oil prices also weighed on the market.

Trading is expected to be volatile this week, with many market participants out for the holiday. Markets will close early on Wednesday and will remain shuttered on Thursday for the Christmas holiday.

Economy: The Commerce Department said before the market opened that gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nation's economy, shrank at a 0.5% annual rate in the third quarter. It was the third and final revision for third-quarter GDP, and the decline was in line with economists' expectations.

Housing: The National Association of Realtors said sales of existing homes fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 8.6% in November to 4.49 million units from a downwardly revised 4.91 million units in October. November sales are down more than 10% versus last year and were weaker than the 4.93 million units economists forecasted.

Separately, the Census Bureau said sales of existing homes fell 2.9% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 407,000 from a downwardly revised total of 419,000 in October. That tally was worse than the seasonally adjusted 420,000 that economists forecasted.

Consumers: The University of Michigan unexpectedly revised its consumer sentiment index higher to a reading of 60.1 from the 59.1 reading it announced on Dec. 12. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a downward revision to 58.6.

The surprise increase could allay some of the market's fears that consumer spending, which makes up the bulk of the nation's economic activity, will remain weak in the months ahead.

Bonds: The benchmark 10-year note fell 10/32 to 113 23/32, and its yield rose to 2.2% from 2.14% on Monday. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite direction. The 10-year yield dipped below 3% in November for the first time since the note was first issued in 1962.

Lending rates were mixed. The 3-month Libor rate held steady at 1.47%, according to Bloomberg. The overnight Libor edged up to 0.12% from 0.11% Monday. Libor is a key bank lending rate.

Other markets: In global trading, Asia markets were lower with the Hang Seng in Hong Kong falling nearly 3%. Japan's Nikkei was closed. Major indexes in Europe were higher at midday.

The dollar fell versus the euro and gained against the yen.

U.S. light crude oil for February delivery was down 32 cents to $39.52 a barrel in New York.

COMEX gold for February delivery was down $3.30 to $843.90 an ounce.

Gasoline prices fell overnight to a national average of $1.659 from $1.663 a gallon, according to a survey of credit-card swipes released Monday by motorist group AAA.

No comments:


Copyright 2007 All Right Reserved. shine-on design by Nurudin Jauhari. and Published on Free Templates