Market Report: Stocks Rise and Housing Declines
COLUMBIA -The S&P 500, NASDAQ and Wilshire 5000 all snapped two-week losing streaks this week.
The three indexes were up .5 percent, 1.5 percent and .7 percent respectively. The Wilshire 5000 isn't as commonly used, but is a great index to look at because it includes all actively traded stocks in the US. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped .47 percent for the week.
On Thursday, trading of the NASDAQ flat-lined when trading stopped because of a technical glitch. Two of the reasons for gains this week were a 9 percent boost from Facebook after reports showed an increase in mobile usage and another 9 percent jump, this one from Microsoft, when CEO Steve Balmer announced Friday he'll be retiring within 12 months. Balmer is only Microsoft's second CEO since its founding, when Bill Gates was at the reigns of the company.
The closely watched housing market got some big news this week.
Commerce Department numbers showed a 13.4 percent decrease in new home sales for July, which is the biggest drop in three years. Analysts say rising mortgage rates are the biggest reason for the decline in sales. The current average rate for a 30-year loan is 4.58 percent, the highest in two years. On the other hand, existing home sales went up 6.5 percent. The difference between the two is mainly because existing home sales are closed contracts and don't represent the recent rise in rates.
Locally, the Federal Housing Finance Agency's House Price Index showed a 1.51 percent gain in Columbia MSA housing prices for the second quarter of the year, which was close to Missouri's 1.55 percent increase, but below the national average of 2.1 percent. In the past year, Missouri's prices have gone up 3.25 percent, which ranks 36 in the nation, and Columbia's have increased 2.49 percent. You can view the full report here.
The big reports to watch this week are the Consumer Confidence Index that comes out on Tuesday and looks at the spending and saving habits of consumers. On Thursday the Second Quarter GDP estimate comes out, which gives a very broad outlook on the economy and could dictate how soon the Federal Reserve tapers off its pumping of money into the economy through quantitative easing. Analysts think a number over 2.5 percent could mean that starts sooner than later. The same day we'll get a look at how many people are filing for unemployment insurance for the first time when initial jobless claims come out, and Friday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis releases personal income, which is important because more income could drive the spending and home buying numbers higher.
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