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The gains were modest, but they were nevertheless gains.First the scoreboard:
Dow: 13,577, +13.3, +0.1%
S&P 500: 1,461, +1.7, +0.1%
NASDAQ: 3,182, +4.8, +0.1%
And now the top stories:
- Housing data came in mixed today. Housing starts climbed 2.3 per cent to 750k at an annual rate. This was lower than the 767k unit pace that economists were hoping for. Even worse, last months starts number was revised lower.
- Existing home sales, however, jumped to the highest level in two years. The pace jumped 7.8 per cent in August to 4.82 million units. “The housing market is steadily recovering with consistent increases in both home sales and median prices,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. “More buyers are taking advantage of excellent housing affordability conditions.”
- What are we to make of this? Gary Shilling thinks that this is no housing recovery. He continues to believe that U.S. home prices will fall a solid 20 per cent from here. Among other things, he blames the huge supply of excess home inventory. See Gary Shilling’s 12 Charts That Show Why This Isn’t A Housing Recovery >
- Oil prices tumbled today. According to the Energy Information Agency, U.S. oil inventories jumped by 8.5 million barrels. Energy analysts were look for a build of just 1 million barrels. There was also some chatter that the U.S. may tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and that Saudi Arabia may ramp up production. Just rumours. Here Are 10 Surprising Ways That Major Commodities Are Used >
- It’s unusual for oil prices to fall while stock prices are rising. It’s also unusual for bearish strategist David Rosenberg to make bullish arguments. In his latest research note, Rosenberg argued that the Fed’s efforts to keep interest rates extremely low present a “compelling argument” for stocks. He also ran a crude regression analysis that showed that with each $40 billion expansion to the Fed’s balance sheet, the S&P 500 climbs by 19 per cent.
- Don’t Miss: 20 Stocks Traders Are Shorting Like Crazy >
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