What started out looking like a bad week for the U.S. equity markets turned out pretty alright by mid-week. The Dow climbed back above 14,000 on Wednesday, while the S&P 500 finished above 1,500, after both indices closed below the arbitrary yet psychologically-significant levels.
At the close: DJIA: +1.26%, S&P 500: +1.38%, NASDAQ: +1.04%.
1) Another dose of positive housing data played a significant role in today’s market gains. The National Association of Realtors announced on Wednesday that its Pending Home Sales Index for January increased to its highest level since April 2010. The index is normalized to a level of 100, which represents the 5.0 to 5.5 million home sales in 2001, and January’s index read 105.9, a 4.5 percent increase from December’s downwardly-revised reading of 101.3.
This data punctuates a 15.6 percent surge in new homes sales for the same month, as well as strong 2012 performance for all three headline composites of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices… (Read more.)