Most U.S. stocks recovered from a two-day tumble that erased 2018 gains. The latest bout of volatility has come courtesy of Fed uncertainty, a persistent stumble for the tech sector, resurfaced global growth worries, trade tensions and European political ambiguity. Tech led to the upside, while energy issues rebounded along with crude oil prices, which posted a decisive drop yesterday. Volume was moderate ahead of tomorrow’s Thanksgiving holiday break. Treasury yields were little changed and gold moved higher, while the U.S. dollar dipped amid a host of mixed economic and earnings data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dipped 1 point to 24,465, the S&P 500 Index gained 8 points (0.3%) to 2,650, and the NASDAQ Composite advanced 63 points (0.9%) to 6,972. In moderate volume, 777 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 1.8 billion shares changed hands on the NASDAQ. WTI crude oil increased $1.20 to $54.63 per barrel and wholesale gasoline rose $0.01 to $1.51 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price traded $3.89 higher at $1,225.55 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—dipped 0.1% to 96.74.
The Conference Board’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) for October increased 0.1% month-over-month (m/m), matching Bloomberg projections and compared to September’s upwardly-revised 0.6% increase. The index has not seen a decline since May 2016. The yield curve, the credit index, and consumer expectations were positive, while stock prices and jobless claims were negative.
The final November University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index was adjusted slightly lower to 97.5, from the preliminary 98.3 figure, where it was expected to remain. The index was below October’s 98.6 level. The 1-year inflation forecast dipped m/m to 2.8% from October’s 2.9% and the 5-10 year outlook rose to 2.6% from 2.4%.
Existing-home sales in October increased 1.4% m/m to an annual rate of 5.22 million units, slightly above expectations of 5.20 million, following September’s unrevised 5.15 million annual rate. Sales of single-family homes were up m/m and were 5.3% below year-ago levels, while purchases of multi-family structures were also up m/m and were down 3.2% y/y. The median existing-home price was up 3.8% y/y to $246,000. Unsold inventory came in at a 4.3-months pace at the current sales rate, up from 3.9 months a year ago. Inventory of homes for sale decreased m/m. Sales rose m/m in the Northeast, West and South, but declined in the Midwest. Existing home sales account for the majority of the housing sales market.
The MBA Mortgage Application Index decreased 0.1% last week, following the prior week’s 3.2% decline. The move came as a 5.0% fall in the Refinance Index was accompanied by a 3.1% increase in the Purchase Index. The average 30-year mortgage rate dipped 1 basis point (bp) to 5.16%.
Weekly initial jobless claims rose by 3,000 to 224,000, above expectations of 215,000, as the prior week was upwardly-revised at 221,000. The four-week moving average increased by 2,000 to 218,500, while continuing claims declined by 2,000 to 1,668,000, north of estimates of 1,653,000.
October preliminary durable goods orders declined 4.4% month-over-month (m/m), compared to estimates of a 2.6% decline and September’s downwardly-revised 0.1% dip. Ex-transportation, orders were up 0.1% m/m, versus forecasts of a 0.4% rise and compared to September’s downwardly-revised 0.6% fall. Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, considered a proxy for business spending, were flat, below projections of a 0.2% gain, and the prior month’s figure was revised unfavorably to a 0.5% decline from the initially reported 0.1% decrease.
Treasuries finished little changed, with the yield on the 2-year note ticking 1 bp higher to 2.81%, while the yields on the 10-year note and the 30-year bond were flat at 3.06% and 3.31%, respectively. Bond yields were nearly unchanged as the U.S. stock markets recovered slightly from a two-day tumble that culminated the most recent pullback in the markets.
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