Tuesday Afternoon Cheat Sheet: 3 Stories That Moved Markets

The markets closed today on a mixed note. Overall, relatively strong earnings have helped push markets toward five-year highs despite economic indicators that have come in all over place. Today, we learned that home prices rose, consumer confidence fell, and retail sales for January are off to a soft start.

At the close: DJIA: +0.52%, S&P 500: +0.55%, NASDAQ: 0.02%.

Here are three stories that helped move the markets today:Money-Fixed-Rate-Loans-Refinance-Home-Loan-Cash-713749

1) While Monday’s report of pending home sales issued by National Association of Realtors showed uneven progress in the housing market, the rise in home prices for the month of November provided a sign that the sector is recovering.

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Home prices have increased for ten consecutive months. Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas met analysts’ expectations with a 0.6 percent gain for the month of November. The rise contributed to a 5.5 percent gain year-over-year, the greatest yearly price increase since August 2006. However, at that time, housing prices were on a downward trajectory. Now, prices appear to be moving upward, and last year’s gains testify that the housing sector is on the mend… (Read more.)

2) Despite a delay in the fiscal cliff, consumer confidence in the United States took another plunge in January to reach its lowest level in more than a year.

After a sharp decline in December, The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index fell further in January. The index of consumer attitudes dropped to 58.6, compared to an upwardly revised 66.7 last month. It was the lowest reading since November 2011 and the worst month-over-month decline since August 2011, when Washington D.C. caused pessimism with its bickering over the debt ceiling… (Read more.)

3) The ICSC-Goldman Retail Chain Stores Index fell 1 percent week-over-week for the seven-day period ended January 26, the fourth consecutive period of declines. Year over year, store sales grew 2 percent, 1.2 points shy of the 3.2 percent growth rate trend that was established heading into the reading. Similarly, the Redbook report shows year-over-year retail growth of just 1.6 percent for the week ended January 26, compared to 1.8 percent average growth for December.

Although it’s still early in the year, many economists have already indicated that the expiration of the payroll tax holiday will have a material impact on consumer spending, as evidenced by this week’s relatively weak numbers… (Read more.)

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