Stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) are higher this morning after a couple of economic reports showed that existing home sales were stronger than expected, corporate inventories were lower and third-quarter GDP was revised downward.
The U.S. economy expanded at a slower rate in the third quarter than originally thought. The 2.2% increase in gross domestic product (GDP) from July through September compares with a 2.8% gain previously reported. The slower pace of economic expansion was due to companies curbing spending and cutting inventories at a faster-than-anticipated rate, reports Timothy R. Homan for Bloomberg . Lower inventory levels bode well for early 2010, as they will have to be rebuilt.
After surging 10% in October, sales of existing homes jumped again in November and rose by 7.4%. The surprisingly strong sales figures were spurred in large part by first-time homebuyers looking to take advantage of the $8,000 federal tax credit, reports Les Christie for CNNMoney. The level of existing home sales hit the highest level since February 2007, a sign that perhaps the housing market is gaining strength. The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund (NYSE: ITB) is up 2.5% this morning.
Technology stocks were slightly higher this morning after technology distributor Jabil Circuit (NYSE: JBL) posted a first-quarter profit after three consecutive loss-making quarters. According to Kathy Shwiff of the Dow Jones Newswire,the company was also positive on its outlook going forward. [For more stories on the technology sector, please see our technology category.]
While Jabil has roared ahead by more than 9%, the broader iShares Dow Jones U.S. Technology Index Fund (NYSE: IYW) has edged up by 0.25%. [For more information on sector funds, please see our sector ETFs category.]