Markets closed slightly higher to end the week. The Dow gained 49 points to 29,347. Trading volume was high thanks to this being the one day each month where option contracts expire. For the week the Dow gained almost 500 points or roughly 1.8%.
US Housing starts ended 2019 with a bang, posting the largest monthly gain since 2016 and crushing guru expectations. At an annualized sales pace of 1.608 million, starts hit the highest level since 2006. For 2019 as a whole, builders started 1.298 million homes, a 3.9% increase versus 2018 and the tenth consecutive annual gain.
US manufacturing rose 0.6% in the latest reading. After declining for most of last year manufacturing has accelerated over the past three months and on an annualized basis eked out a gain of 0.8% over 2018 setting a new record. Major headwinds in 2019 were trade uncertainty and the GM strike but with the signing of the USMCA and China POT deal the outlook for US manufacturing is good.
The scouts head out tomorrow for a snow camp at Fish Lake which is next to Lake Wenatchee. The snow camp is great for new scouts to test their metal and spend a night sleeping in a snow bank. Oh what fun!
Markets will be closed on Monday to honor the late great Martin Luther King Jr.