US Stock Market Overview – Stocks Close Mixed Despite Robust Housing Data

Fed Chicago National Activity Index shows weakness
David Becker


US stocks were mixed on Wednesday, led down by energy, with technology bucking the trend. US home sales were stronger than expected, rising double digits year over year. The Chicago Fed National Activity Index for December signaled a contraction. The VIX volatility index continues to hover near the 12-year low. Crude oil prices tumbled nearly 3% weighing on energy shares. US yields continue to move lower, as economic data appears to be mixed. For the year energy shares are the worst-performing sector in the S&P 500 index, declining more than 4%. This compares to the technology space which has climbed more than 4%. The President was on CNBC on Wednesday telling viewers that US GDP would be more than 4% if and the Dow would be soaring if it was not for the Fed.

Trump wants lower Rates

President Donald Trump told CNBC that economic growth would have been closer to 4% if it weren’t for the lingering effect of Federal Reserve rate hikes. Trump suggested that the stock market would be even higher than its already record-setting highs if the Fed hadn’t raised rates.

US Home Sales Rise

US home sales rose in December, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales of previously owned homes increased by 3.6% in December compared with November to reach an annual rate of 5.54 million. On a year over year basis, December sales of existing homes were up 10.8%, through December 2018.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index’s reading for December signaled a weaker economy. The index was -0.35 for December, compared with a +0.41 reading the month before. When a reading is above -0.35, it has in the past meant the economy is expanding. Of the four broad categories the index is made up of, three negatively contributed.

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