The news is mixed, as positive consumer sentiment is undermined by a slipping housing market and unsatisfactory J&J earnings. Stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) have managed to inch up despite the see-saw.
The housing market recovery is still in question. Home prices in 20 major cities in November fell 0.2%, following a 0.1% dip in October, reports Lynn Adler for Reuters. The news follows yesterday’s report, which showed that existing home sales plummeted 16.7% in December. It was the largest decline in more than 40 years. [Existing home sales drop.]
On a more positive note, consumer confidence is once again on the rise. Stephen Bernard and Tim Paradis for the Associated Press report that confidence rose to 55.9 in January from 53.6 in December. It was the third straight increase and the highest level in more than a year.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) reported a healthy jump in fourth-quarter sales. But J&J still saw its stock price fall as its 2010 profit forecast apparently disappointed investors. Sales rose 9%, however, profit dipped 19%or 79 cents per share, reports Linda A. Johnson for Associated Press.
- iShares Dow Jones U.S. Healthcare (NYSEArca: IYH): holds 12.1% of assets in J&J
On a global note, Britain is out of their recession, according to government data showed Tuesday. GDP grew 0.7% over the last three months of 2009, reports David Jolly for The New York Times.
- iShares MSCI United Kingdom (NYSEArca: EWU)
Alison Tudor and Kenneth McCullum for The Wall Street Journal report that Japan is suffering from a deflationary cycle and public spending is down, while the country’s massive borrowing has threatened the rating of the country. The agency specifically cited the new administration’s focus on social spending and a seeming lack of concern for Japan’s borrowing as a reason for its threat to knock Japan’s long-term sovereign debt a notch below its current double-A rating. [Asia ETFs: Why ‘economic freedom’ matters.]
- iShares MSCI Japan (NYSEArca: EWJ)
Look for Yahoo’s (NASDAQ: YHOO) earnings today, after markets close. Can they follow the strong earnings delivered by other tech majors? [How to play earnings in the tech sector with ETFs.]
The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.