It was a pretty quiet Friday.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 16,103.3 (-29.9, -0.1%)
- S&P 500: 1,836.2 (-3.5, -0.1%)
- Nasdaq: 4,263.4 (-4.1, -0.1%)
And now the top stories:
- We got another disappointing housing report today. Existing home sales fell 5.1% month-over-month in January to an annualized rate of 4.62 million. Economists were looking for a 4.67 million level. For the most part, economists attributed the weakness to harsh winter weather.
- Barclays’ Michael Gapen offered his take on the housing report: “We see two main factors as contributing to the decline. First, existing home sales are counted at the close of the sale, meaning they generally lag market conditions by up to 60-90 days. Consequently, the rise in the 30y fixed-rate mortgage yield from 3.54% in May to 4.48% in September still imparted some residual softness into sales, in our view. In addition, pending home sales fell sharply in December, declining 8.7% on the month, continuing a streak of seven straight monthly declines. We see the particularly sharp decline in December pending home sales as related to adverse weather across much of the US, which reduced homebuyer traffic in the NAHB homebuilder index and likely caused activity to pause.”
- The Federal Reserve released the transcripts from their 2008 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings. Because they’re so old, they’re less useful than they are just a fun read. However, it was interesting to read how on-point now-Fed Chair Janet Yellen was back then. From the January 2008 transcript: “The severe and prolonged housing downturn and financial shock have put the economy at, if not beyond, the brink of recession.” It wasn’t until a full year later that the National Bureau of Economic Research officially declared that we had gone into recession in December 2007.
- Online coupon company Groupon got punished today after the company announced its Q4 financial results, which were actually better than expected. The stock fell 22%.
- Don’t Miss: GOLDMAN: Here Are 23 Stocks Hedge Funds Are Shorting Like Crazy »
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