Economic Update 12/28/15

CONSUMER SPENDING IMPROVES 0.3%

This November increase matched the forecast of economists polled by Briefing.com, and it was a nice change after a flat October reading (revised down from an initially reported 0.1% gain). Consumer incomes also rose 0.3% in November.

HOUSEHOLD OPTIMISM INCREASES IN DECEMBER

At mid-month, the preliminary University of Michigan consumer sentiment index presented a reading of 91.8. Last week, it rose slightly to 92.6. Analysts surveyed by Briefing.com expected a final December reading of 92.0.

RULE CHANGES HAMPER EXISTING HOME SALES

New mortgage disclosure rules instituted by the federal government delayed some closings in November. Therefore, the 10.5% slip in resales reported by the National Association of Realtors was not all that surprising. New home sales fared better in November: the Census Bureau reported a 4.3% increase. Year-over-year, new home buying was up 9.1%.

FINAL Q3 GDP NUMBER: 2.0%

The Bureau of Economic Analysis revised its third-quarter growth estimate last week; its prior appraisal was 2.1%. In a development related to this quarter’s GDP, hard goods orders were flat in November.

OIL REBOUNDS, STOCKS FOLLOW SUIT

The NYMEX price of WTI crude settled at $38.10 a barrel Christmas Eve, rising 5.7% for the trading week. Wall Street, as a consequence, had its best week since mid-November. The S&P 500 rose 2.76% during three-and-a-half trading days to 2,060.99, while the Dow gained 2.47% to 17,552.17, and the Nasdaq advanced 2.55% t0 5,048.49.

THIS WEEK: Nothing major is scheduled for Monday. Tuesday sees the release of the October S&P/Case-Shiller home price index and the Conference Board’s December consumer confidence index. On Wednesday, NAR’s November pending home sales index appears. The Labor Department issues a weekly jobless claims report on Thursday, which is also New Year’s Eve; the bond market will close at 2:00pm EST, but the NYSE and NASDAQ will be open regular hours. New Year’s Day falls on Friday, with all U.S. financial markets closed.

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