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David Becker

 

Stocks moved higher on Thursday following better than expected economic data. Yields backed up with the 10-year treasury hitting the highest level since May. The dollar rebounded pushing gold lower. All sectors in the S&P 500 index were higher, led by energy and financials, consumer staples were the worst-performing sector. US Jobless claims rose less than expected and finally broke through the 800,000 mark. US existing home sales also rose by more than expected, but tight supply also pushed up housing prices. The final presidential debate will take place in Nashville Tennesee on Thursday. This will lead to a sprint to the finish line with is 2-weeks from this past Tuesday. Currently, the markets appear to be pricing in a Biden victory, which is also reflected in the betting markets.

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Jobless Claims Rise Less than Expected

US jobless claims totaled 787,000 last week, the lowest total since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Expectations had been for claims to rise by 875,000. The total reflected a decline of 55,000 from the downwardly revised 842,000 in the previous week.  In addition to the substantial drop in the headline number, continuing claims also showed another hefty decline. The level of those getting benefits for at least two weeks declined by 1.02 million to 8.37 million.

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Existing-Home Sales Rise By More than Expected

US Sales of existing homes rose by 9.4% in September to an annualized rate of 6.54 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales were up 20.9% annually. Prices are rising because supply is very tight. The inventory of homes for sale fell 19.2% annually to just 1.47 million homes for sale at the end of September. At the current sales pace that represents a 2.7-month supply. That is the lowest since the Realtors began tracking this metric in 1982. The median price of an existing home sold in September was $311,800, a 14.8% gain compared with September 2019. That is a new high for this series, dating back to 1968.

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