Housing Market and Stocks Going Up
Has the real estate crisis ended? Well, okay, probably not. But moving from November into December, sales of existing homes rose 6.5 percent, which at least provides a bit of positive news and a sign that some normal Americans still have money.
According to the BBC, analysts thought that homes would sell at an annual rate of 4.4 million in December. Instead, the exact figure reached was 4.74 million. So expectations were beaten in addition to those November totals.
We now have to move on to the bad news, though. The BBC reports, “For 2008 as a whole, sales fell 13.1% to 4.91 million units, the worst year in a decade.” Also, “The association said that existing home prices fell by 15.3% in December from the same period a year earlier, with 45% of transactions viewed as ‘distress sales,’ where the seller was forced to sell at a discounted price.”
If you can’t stand any more, don’t keep reading, because the BBC then continued, “Housing starts in the US fell by 15.5% in December to hit an all-time low, official statistics released last week showed. The rate of new construction was down 45% from December 2007.”
Meh. Maybe January will somehow dig us a tiny bit out of the hole, anyway.
Dow Jones Still Rising
The idea of three positive Financial Blog stories in a row may seem unlikely or even impossible depending on how accustomed you’ve become to the recession. This is the real deal, though, as today’s big story is pretty much about general upwards trends in the stock market.
The Dow rose a little more than 96 points today, which put it up a rather neat 0.96 percent. And that also put it over the 10,000 mark, in case you’re wondering, which is a cause for celebration.
The Nasdaq rose by a little less – 0.91 percent – and didn’t hit any especially significant numbers. But the S&P 500 temporarily achieved something interesting as it rose above 1,100 at one point today. (And it didn’t close much lower, finishing at 1,097.91.)
So the season of third quarter earnings reports seems to be going quite snappily. Industrial equipment maker Eaton saw improvements, which may translate into the American manufacturing machine picking up strength.
Google and Gannett both posted good results, too, which bodes well for the advertising industry. And the Hasbro toy company made some progress, as well, to sort of put the icing on the no-longer-in-survival-model cake.
Let’s shoot for a fourth positive article next week, eh?