The major U.S. markets were trading higher Wednesday following the release of a better-than-expected retail report. As of 12 p.m.:
|DIJA: +0.14% to 15989.63||S&P 500: +0.25% to 1792.40||NASDAQ: +0.44% to 3949.03|
|Gold: -2.09% to 72.68||Oil: +0.21% to 22.06||U.S. 10-Year: -0.11% to 27.09|
Here are three stories helping shape the market Wednesday afternoon:
1. Government Issues Didn’t Shut Down Retail Sales In October: The U.S. Department of Commerce released its report on retail sales for October on Wednesday morning. The results revealed that consumers still opened their wallets during the month despite the partial government shutdown that lasted through the first half of October.
Last month, retail sales rose at their fastest pace since July, driven in particular by the sales of cars and trucks. Sales at U.S. retail stores rose 0.4 percent during the month versus September, beating economist expectations that sales would be flat. U.S. retail sales in October reached $428.1 billion, a growth of 3.9 percent versus a year ago.
2. Home Sales Tumble As Prices Keep Posting Double-Digit Gains: Surrounded by lower inventory and higher prices, existing-home sales declined last month as affordability issues continue to hinder demand. The National Association of Realtors announced Tuesday that total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions of single-family homes, town homes, condos, and co-ops fell 3.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.12 million units in October, compared to 5.29 million units in September.
3. The U.S. Economy and the Curious Case of Missing Demand: Speaking before the Joint Economic Committee in May, Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke delivered a somewhat ominous diagnosis of the U.S. economy. Couched within boilerplate language detailing the “moderate pace” of economic growth, Bernanke said that — alongside the usual benefits of lower interest rates (which, in turn, support increased spending) — the Fed’s exceptionally accommodative monetary policy “has also helped to offset incipient deflationary pressures and kept inflation from falling even further below the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run objective.”