Stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) were little changed this morning as weak new home sales in November put a damper on enthusiasm. Even positive figures about personal incomes and spending weren’t enough to turn the markets positive.
Personal incomes rose in November at the fastest pace in six months while spending posted a second straight increase, raising hopes that the economic recovery may be gaining momentum. Personal incomes rose by 0.4% in November, while spending rose 0.5%, reported Martin Crutsinger for the Associated Press. However, both numbers came in below expectations. This raises the question whether incomes are rising quickly enough to sustain a strong economic rebound.
Yesterday’s figures on existing home sales were upbeat, but this morning’s numbers for new homes in November was definitely downbeat. New homes sales in November plunged 11.3% to an annual rate of 355,000 – the lowest rate since April and far weaker than the 421,000 rate expected by economists, reports Kristina Peterson for MarketWatch. The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (NYSEArca: XHB) is down about 1% this morning. [(For more stories on homebuilders, please visit our homebuilders category.]
Crude oil rose to a two-week high this morning at $76.40 as weekly data on U.S. stockpiles of oil showed a larger-than-expected drop. Supplies fell 4.84 million barrels to 327.5 million last week, the biggest decline since September, reports Mark Shenk for Bloomberg. This was the third consecutive weekly decline in oil inventories. [For more stories on oil, please see our oil category.]