Stocks slipped on the second-to-last trading day of the year as markets were quiet ahead of the New Years holiday, though the stock market will be open for a full day on Wednesday.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,983.1, -55.1, (0.3%)
- S&P 500: 2,080.3, -10.2, (-0.5%)
- Nasdaq: 4,777.4, -29.5, (-0.6%)
And now, the top stories on Tuesday:
1. On Tuesday, housing data from the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index came in better than expected, as home prices rose 0.76% on a seasonally adjusted basis in October compared to the prior month, topping expectations for a 0.4% increase. Compared to last year, home prices also rose 4.5% in October, also better than expected. In comments on CNBC following the report, Yale professor Robert Shiller and one half of the Case-Shiller team, said the housing market in San Francisco looks “a little bubbly.”
2. We got the final reading on consumer confidence for 2014, with the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index coming in at 92.9, up from 88.7 last month but still a bit below expectations. Following the report, the Conference Board’s Lynn Franco said, “Consumer confidence rebounded modestly in December, propelled by a considerably more favourable assessment of current economic and labour market conditions. As a result, the Present Situation Index is now at its highest level since February 2008.”
3. It was a historic day on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, as UBS floor director Art Cashin rang the opening bell to celebrate 50 years (!) since he joined the floor of the exchange. Cashin has long been a stalwart on the floor and is frequently seen on CNBC and other media outlets — including Business Insider — and as the NYSE’s Rich Barry said in an email, “Most importantly it is Arthur, in his always calming and reassuring tone, which the media frequently seek out during periods of market turmoil. His is a voice that people have come to rely on and trust.”
4. And it wouldn’t be a celebration of Cashin’s longevity on Wall Street without a bit of sound investing advice. As Business Insider’s Andy Kiersz breaks down, Cashin shared a time-tested strategy with CNBC viewers in an appearance Tuesday morning: dollar-cost averaging.
5. Among the big stock losers on Tuesday were shares of oil services company Civeo, which provides housing accommodations for drilling and mining projects, which lost more than 50% after the company last night said it would suspend its dividend and reduce capital investment in 2015. The company, which was spun off from Oil States International earlier this year, is down more than 80% since that June spin off.
6. Gold rallied on Tuesday, spiking aggressively in late morning trade before settling at around $US1,200 an ounce, more than $US15/ounce higher than it was overnight. There was no obvious catalyst for the move higher in gold, though on a day when stocks were down, US Treasury bonds and gold — considered “safe haven” assets — gained some ground.
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