After a fairly volatile week in the U.S. stock market, major indexes finished virtually flat. Interest rates were also little changed as the 10-year treasury yield dropped only 3 basis points to 2.75%. The spread between the 10-year treasury yield and the 2-year treasury yield also saw a slight drop, narrowing from 0.18% to 0.16%. The price of gold increased 1.02% to $1,302 an ounce, while the U.S. Dollar Index (DXY) fell from 96.36 to 95.81 amid increasing expectations that the Fed will repeat the need to put their rate hiking-cycle on hold and that political uncertainty between the U.S. and China persists. The price of crude oil was virtually unchanged for the week, dropping 0.33% to $53.55 a barrel.
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This Week’s Economic Highlights
- Existing home sales dropped 6.4% to seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.99 million for the month of December, its lowest point in over 3 years. Year-over-year existing home sales are down 10.3%. The median sales price rose to $253,600, 2.9% higher from a year ago, while supply also increased but still remains relatively low.
- Initial unemployment claims dropped from 212,000 to 199,000 for the week ending January 19th, its lowest point since 1969. Even though many government workers have recently been without a paycheck due to the government shutdown, they file through a separate program that is not included as a part of unemployment data.
- Durable goods orders for the month of December have been delayed due to the government shutdown. However, forecasters are expecting 1.5% increase for the month.
- For the second straight month, December’s new home sales data has also been delayed due to the government shutdown. However, estimates from economists expect November’s new homes sales to increase to 560,000 and December’s sales to increase to 569,000.
“The advice that sounds the best in the short run is always the most dangerous in the long run.”
– Jason Zweig