Daily Market Commentary for January 20, 2012
Standard & Poor's 'weakest links' are companies that have credit ratings of B-minus and lower, and with either negative outlooks or ratings on credit watch for possible downgrade. (read more at Millennium-Traders.Com)
National Association of Realtors reported sales of existing homes rose 5% during December as yet another tough year in the U.S. housing market came to a positive close. Last month, NAR overstated sales data from 2007 onwards lower by 14% and said December sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.61 million with November sales revised down to 4.39 million, from initially reported 4.42 million. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said lower mortgage rates, improved jobs conditions and rising rents have helped lift sales figures, though he noted that December 2010 also was strong before petering out later. Sales edged up 1.7% to 4.26 million during 2011, compared to the 2005 peak of 7.08 million. Median housing sales prices fell 2.5% to $164,500 in December from same period of 2010. For the year, median prices were $166,100 or, down 3.9% to return back to 2002 levels. Inventories, which are generally low during winter months, fell 9.2% to 2.38 million, hitting low not seen since March 2005, representing 6.2 months of supply. Supply of inventory for the month is lowest seen since April 2006. Distressed sales accounted for 32% of sales, up from 29% in November. All-cash transactions represented 31% of purchases, up from 28% in November. First-time buyers accounted for 31% of all transactions, down from 35% in November and from a normal rate of around 40%.
The trading session was generally quiet, with markets bouncing in and out of positive territory throughout the day. February gold ended the session up $9.50 or 0.6% to end the day at $1,664/oz. March silver was higher by $1.17, or 3.8% to close the week at $31.675/oz.
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