Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Lower markets pare gains for December

Dow dropped 46, decliners over advancers 4-3 & NAZ fell 13.  The MLP index lost 2 to the 462s & the REIT index inched up fractionally in the 333s.  Junk bond funds slid lower & Treasuries rose.  Oil traded near the lowest since 2009 amid speculation that US crude inventories will stay at the highest for the time of year in at least 3 decades while gold climbed higher.

AMJ (Alerian MLP Index tracking fund)

CLG15.NYM...Crude Oil Feb 15...53.68 Up ...0.07 (0.1%)

GCF15.CMX...Gold Jan 15......1,205.70 Up .24.00 (2.0%)

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The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index increased to 92.6 in Dec from 91 a month earlier.  The forecast called for a gain to 93.9.  The measure averaged 96.8 during the last expansion & 53.7 during the recession that ended in Jun 2009. 

Consumer Confidence Index in U.S. Increased to 92.6 in December

Home prices in 20 US cities rose at a slower pace in the year ended in Oct, putting the market on better footing heading into 2015.  The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values increased 4.5% from Oct 2013, the smallest gain in 20 years, after rising 4.8% in the year ended in Sep.  The projection called for a 4.4% advance.  Nationally, prices rose 4.6% after a 4.8% gain in the year ended in Sep.  Smaller increases in home prices mean residential real estate will be within reach of more Americans as the job market improves & wage gains accelerate.  The rebound in property values from the depths of the recession has also helped repair homeowners’ finances, which is contributing to gains in consumer confidence & spending that are driving the economic expansion.  Home prices in the 20-city index, adjusted for seasonal variations, increased 0.8% in Oct from the prior month, the biggest gain since Mar.  Unadjusted prices dropped 0.1%.  The year-over-year gauge, based on records dating back to 2001, provides better indications of trends in prices, the group has said.  While the year-to-year returns are cooling overall, more cities are starting to show a reacceleration, which bodes well for next year.  12 cities experienced smaller year-to-year gains in Oct compared with the prior month, down from 18 in Sep & 20 in Aug.

Home Prices in U.S. Rise at Slower Pace in Year to October

Spanish consumer prices fell the most since Jul 2009 in a sign that slumping oil costs are complicating the ECB's battle to stave off deflation in the area.  Prices slid 1.1% this month from a year earlier, the National Statistics Institute said.  The drop was the 6th in a row & bigger than the 0.7%.  Euro-area data next week is forecast to show consumer prices in the currency bloc stagnated in Dec.  Oil prices have fallen by about half this year, dividing ECB officials as they consider whether to start large-scale sovereign-bond purchases, or quantitative easing.  While Germany's Jens Weidmann says cheaper energy is an economic “mini-stimulus” that alleviates any need for action, others including ECB Vice President Vitoir Constancio have warned it could feed into broader price expectations & spark a deflationary spiral.  Spain's gov has denied the nation’s economy, the euro area’s 4th-largest & among the fastest-growing, faces deflation.  Retail sales rose 1.9% in Nov from a year earlier, the 4th consecutive gain.

Spain Prices Drop Most Since 2009 as Oil Bedevils ECB Debate

Stocks are not doing much in quiet semi-holiday trading.  After a volatile month, Dow is up 170 in Dec.  Minimal price movement is expected in the markets for the rest of the week while they wait for Dec data to come out next week.

Dow Jones Industrials

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