Stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) rose slightly after Case-Shiller announced that home prices rose for the seventh consecutive month in January, by 0.3%, but quickly retreated after consumer confidence dipped to lows not seen since last April.The index of 20 major metropolitan cities in the United States is still off 3.1% from a year early, but its recent progress underscores a recovery – albeit a bumpy one – in the United States’ housing sector. Los Angeles and Phoenix saw their prices rise the most. iShares FTSE NAREIT Residential (NYSEArca: REZ) is down slightly this morning. [Real Estate: On the Mend, or More Trouble?]
In other housing-related news, Home Depot (NYSE: HD) announced estimate-beating earnings this morning as more homeowners sought materials for home improvement projects. Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW) announced its own earnings yesterday, also trouncing the estimates. The retailers noted that customers seemed more willing to spend on big ticket items, such as flooring and kitchen remodeling projects. iShares Dow Jones U.S. Homebuilders (NYSEArca: ITB) is down slightly in early trading; Home Depot is 4% and Lowe’s is 3.8%. [3 Signs of Improvement in Homebuilders.]
Consumer confidence fell this month to the lowest level since April 2009 as concerns about the pace of the recovery and lingering weakness in the jobs market weighed on minds around the country. In an effort to remedy the increasingly pressing unemployment situation, President Barack Obama is working to push a $15 billion jobs creation bill through Congress; it passed through the Senate last night.
Toyota’s (NYSE: TM) U.S. president has apologized for his company’s handling of safety issues. The company’s executives, safety experts and customers will testify at a congressional hearing today at the company attempts to persuade Americans that it cares about its safety. iShares MSCI Japan (NYSEArca: EWJ) is down slightly this morning; Toyota is 5.8%. The fund is down 3.9% in the last month. [For more stories about the auto industry, visit our automobiles category.]
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.