TIME FOR OPTIMISM IN THE HOUSING MARKET? Existing home sales have improved in five of the past six months. In December, they rose 12.3%. While December's sales pace was still 2.9% below year-ago levels, the National Association of Realtors also noted that the glut of unsold homes had been reduced to 8.1 months of supply compared to 9.5 months' worth in November. The median existing home sale price fell 1.0% last month to $168,800.1,2
LEI INDEX SHOWS MORE IMPROVMENT The Conference Board's Leading Economic Indicators index rose 1.0% in December. Pair that with its 1.1% ascent in November and you have the two best months since it rose 1.4% in March. The building permits indicator showed the most improvement.3
HOUSING STARTS DOWN, PERMITS WAY UP Government data seems to affirm one of the findings of the Conference Board index. The Census Bureau just reported a 16.7% increase in building permits in December (the best month in that category since March). Yet housing starts were down 4.3% in December, hitting a 14-month low.4
GOLD & OIL TURN LOWER Optimism about the global economy seems to have increased appetites for risk, and last week you also had the fear that China might hike interest rates. So gold lost 1.43% for the week to settle Friday at $1,341.00 an ounce. Oil prices plunged 3.74% on the week to end up at $89.11 a barrel Friday.5
DOW ADVANCES AGAIN The DJIA posted its eighth straight weekly gain, rising 0.72% across four market days to settle at 11,871.84 Friday. The S&P 500 (-0.76% to 1,283.35) and the NASDAQ (-2.39% to 2,689.54) saw weekly retreats.6
THIS WEEK: Monday brings earnings reports from McDonald's, Halliburton, Amgen and American Express. Tuesday, we have the Conference Board's latest consumer confidence index, the November Case-Shiller home price index and earnings from 3M, US Steel and Verizon. Wednesday brings an FOMC meeting and December new home sales figures plus earnings from Boeing, Netflix and Xerox. Thursday gives us weekly jobless claims figures, December durable goods orders and November pending home sales plus earnings from AT&T and Caterpillar. Friday offers earnings from Chevron and Honeywell, the final January University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey, and the first 4Q 2010 GDP estimate.
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The Cage family has a mother, father and six sons, and each son has one sister. So how many people are in this family?
Last week's riddle: An interesting occurrence happened about 25 minutes on the clock and months and years on the calendar. What was this numerically interesting moment?
Last week's answer:
Early on that afternoon, the time and date read 12:34 on 5/6/78.
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A degreed engineer (in a past life) business owner, business development coach, project manger, and organizational strategist with a strong background in surveillance, ES&H redesign, project management, process engineering, organizational operations, management, business law, and ISO internal auditing. Am an organzing member of NSBE-AE, Organizing Board member Greenwood Festival Chorale, former Omega Psi Phi Graduate Chapter President (Baselius) a former Shelter BOD Chair, a former Regional Chair, former Lander Board of Visitors Member, former Chamber BOD member, as well as many other organizational leadership positions. Owner Spearman Enterprises and Managing Partner Top Flight LLC.