Both stocks and exchanged traded funds (ETFs) edged higher this morning on light pre-holiday trading. Traders were encouraged by positive reports on consumer spending, home sales and weekly jobless claims.
Wall Street reacted positively to the fact that initial jobless claims fell to a 14-month low. First-time filers for unemployment fell to 466,000 – the lowest number since the week ended Sept. 13, 2008, reported Julianne Pepitone for CNNMoney. This is the fourth consecutive week of declines in initial jobless claims. Continuing claims also fell 190,000 from the prior week.
The real estate market got a boost in October: new home sales rose 6.2%, once again thanks to the tax credit for first-time homebuyers. The median home price also dropped in October, by 0.5% to $212,200, reports Jeff Bater for The Wall Street Journal. Rates on 30-year mortgages also sank to an average of 4.78% this week, equaling a record low. Last year at this time, rates averaged 5.97%, reports the Associated Press.
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction (NYSEArca: ITB) is up about 0.8% this morning.