This relentless bull market inched closer to its all-time high despite a horrible reading on consumer confidence.
First the scoreboard:
Dow: 14,553, +105.5 pts, +0.7 per cent
S&P 500: 1,563, +11.0 pts, +0.7 per cent
NASDAQ: 3,250, +15.4 pts, +0.4 per cent
And now the top stories:
- The Dow resumed its rally and closed at a new all-time record high. The S&P 500 ended just two points away from its all-time high of 1,565.25.
- The consumer confidence report was problematic. The headline number plunged to 59.7 from 68.0 a month ago. Economists were looking for a reading of 67.5. “This month’s retreat was driven primarily by a sharp decline in expectations, although consumers were also more pessimistic in their assessment of current conditions,” said Lynn Franco of the Conference Board. “The recent sequester has created uncertainty regarding the economic outlook and as a result, consumers are less confident.”
- The February durable goods orders report reflected month-to-month volatility as expected. Total orders jumped 5.7 per cent, which was much stronger than the 3.9 per cent expected. Nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft and parts — aka core capex — however, declined 2.7 per cent, versus expectations of a drop of only 1.1 per cent. Core capex is a key indicator of business investment activity. “Smoothing through the monthly volatility in core capex orders, the trend is solidly upward,” said UBS’s Drew Matus. “In the first two months of Q1, core capex orders have increased at a 31.4% pace, up from the 20.4%q/q annualized rate in Q4.”
- According to the S&P/Case-Shiller index, national home prices climbed by 1.02 per cent month-over-month in January, which was stronger than the 0.8 per cent increase expected by economists.
- In other housing news, new home sales fell by 4.6 per cent in February. Economists were looking for a gain of 3.9 per cent. Moreover, the median sales price of new homes was $246,800, up from $226,400 the previous month.
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