Tuesday Afternoon Cheat Sheet: 3 Stories That Moved Markets

After starting the day on wobbly feet, the U.S. equity markets managed to close higher after the Nasdaq swung to gains late in the day. Investors are looking ahead to major tech earnings this week, and hoping to see more earnings beats. So far this season, 59.4 percent of companies have beat bottom-line expectations.

At the close: DJIA: +0.46%, S&P 500: +0.33%, NASDAQ: +0.27%.

Here are three stories that helped shape markets today:Gold bullion

1) On Tuesday, gold futures for February delivery, the most active contract, increased $6.20 to settle at $1,693.20 per ounce, while silver futures for March rose 25 cents to close at $32.18.

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Both precious metals showed strength as the Bank of Japan fires more shots in the global currency war. The central bank doubled its inflation target to 2 percent and made a commitment to start open-ended monetary easing next year. Starting in 2014, the BOJ will purchase 13 trillion yen in assets each month, including 2 trillion yen in long-term government bonds and 10 trillion yen in treasury discount bills. (Read more.)

Money-Fixed-Rate-Loans-Refinance-Home-Loan-Cash-7137492) Existing home sales in the United States unexpectedly declined in December, but still finished the year in positive territory, as low mortgage rates and inventory levels support the industry.

On Tuesday, the National Association of Realtors announced that total existing home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, town-homes, condos and co-ops, dropped 1.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.94 million units in December… (Read more.)

3) House Republicans will vote on Wednesday to pass a four-month extension of the debt ceiling. The deal would allow the government to meet its obligations through May 19, hopefully giving Congress enough time to reach a consensus on spending cuts.

The bill would withhold lawmaker’s pay until next year if a budget is not passed by April 15. The Senate, currently Democratically controlled, has not passed a budget in four years because there is no punitive incentive to do so. Democrats have already expressed concern over the Republican proposal… (Read more.)

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