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David Becker

US stocks closed at fresh all-time highs led by the S&P 500 index. While the moves were meager, shares continue to make fresh highs. News that China has offered more positive news about a phase one trade deal helped lift riskier assets. Yields also moved lower which helped stock remain buoyed. This comes following softer than expected new home sales and consumer confidence. Sectors were mixed, led higher by real-estate. Energy was the worst-performing sector in the S&P 500 index.

Trade News Buoys Stocks

China continues to provide a very positive message with regard to trade talks with the US. China’s Commerce Ministry said the two sides had reached a consensus. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and suggested conversations have instilled confidence in Beijing.The upbeat language also came after the Chinese Communist Party’s issued guidelines for stronger protection of intellectual property rights. This is the key to an agreement as the US has been adamant that the theft of intellectual property needed to end.

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New Home Sales Declined more than Expected

sNew home sales dropped 0.7% to an annual rate of 733,000 units last month, according to the commerce department. September’s sales pace was revised higher to 738,000 units, the highest since July 2007. Expectations were for new home sales to rise by 1.1% to a pace of 709,000 units in October.  Sales surged 31.6% from a year ago. The median new house price fell 3.5% to $316,700 in October from a year ago. Sales last month were concentrated in the $200,000-$400,000 price range. Homes priced below $200,000, the most sought after, accounted for only 9% of sales.

Consumer Confidence Declined

US consumer confidence declined for a 4th consecutive month in November according to data released Tuesday by The Conference Board shows. The Board’s consumer confidence index dipped to 125.5 this month. That’s down from 126.1 in October. Expectation had been for the index to rise to 126.6. The present situation index also fell to 166.9 from 173.5 in November.

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