A sluggish reading from the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Indicators, disappointing existing home sales and higher-than-expected jobless claims were not enough to derail the Santa Claus rally, as U.S. equites reached new highs today. Global equities finished more mixed amid a number of central bank policy announcements. Treasuries clawed back into the green after starting the day lower. The Dollar Index was flat, as gains versus the pound were offset by loses versus other major peers. Micron Technology and Rite Aid posted solid quarterly results. As for commodities, oil and gold both advanced. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) added 138 points (0.5%) to 28,337, the S&P 500 Index gained 14 points (0.5%) to 3,205 and the Nasdaq Composite picked up 60 points (0.7%) to 8,887. In moderate volume, 967 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 2.4 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil was $0.33 higher at $61.18 per barrel and wholesale gasoline rose $0.03 to $1.71 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price was $5.70 higher at $1,484.40 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was flat at 97.38.

Existing home sales fell 1.7% m/m in November to an annual rate of 5.35 million units, compared to expectations of a slight decline to 5.44 million, while October’s 5.46 million rate was downwardly-revised to 5.44 million. Sales of single-family homes were down m/m but up versus year-ago levels, while purchases of condominiums and co-ops were also lower m/m, but below year ago levels. The median existing home price rose 5.4% from a year ago to $271,300, marking the 93rd straight month of y/y gains. Unsold inventory came in at a 3.7-months pace at the current sales rate. Sales declined for the second time in three months, as activity rose m/m in the Midwest and Northeast, but declined in the South and in the West. Sales were higher y/y in all regions except the Northeast. In a press release, National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said, “The new-home construction seems to be coming to the market, but we are still not seeing the amount of construction needed to solve the housing shortage.” Weekly initial jobless claims fell by 18,000 to 234,000, versus the Bloomberg estimate of 225,000, with the prior week’s figure being unrevised at 252,000. The four-week moving average rose by 1,500 to 225,500, while continuing claims gained 51,000 to 1,722,000, north of estimates of 1,676,000.

Treasuries were higher with the yield on the 2-year note down a basis point (bp) to 1.62%, the yield on the 10-year note dropping fractionally to 1.91%, and the 30-year bond rate flat at 2.35%. After trending higher following a much stronger-than-expected November nonfarm payroll report and upbeat sentiment on the trade front amid a U.S.-China “phase one” agreement, bond yields have been range bound as concerns about a disorderly U.K. Brexit have increased and upped worries of the nation leaving the European Union without a deal in place.

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