Markets continue to show an upside bias but a bit of mixed action is in play as the tax debate on Capitol Hill goes into full swing. At the close the Dow was up 22 points at 23,589. Trading volume was higher than Friday. The NASDAQ started the day higher but fell into the red in a reversal as chip stocks fell.
Lots of things happened last week during Thanksgiving break but two of note stood out. 1) China announcing a reduction of tariffs on 187 product categories from 17.3% to 7.7% which was seen as a win for President Trump’s trade policy. The reduction in tariffs will help companies in the consumer space like Proctor & Gamble and Pfizer. 2) Black Friday sales came in better than expected with online sales up 15% and foot traffic in malls also rising more than what had been forecast. The news sent retail stocks higher in trading today as it looks like the Christmas holiday shopping season will be well above last year’s pace.
US new single family home sales in October were up a surprising 18.7% from a year ago and hit the highest mark since 2007. The increase was broad-based across the country and most notably came from contracts on homes that have yet to be built. An example of this was seen in Seattle where people stood in line for 18 hours to have a shot at buying one of 29 condos for sale at the new Nexus project. All 29 condos sold out in 2 hours at a cost of $350k to $650K for units less than 500 square feet in size and which will not be completed until 2019.
The Scouts opened the tree lot on Saturday and sales are strong. The lunkheads worked hard on setup, lugging and stacking trees. Donuts helped provide sustenance and the weather was great. Two years ago during setup the temperatures were in the 30’s and the trees were frozen solid like popsicles. It was miserable but this year it was 50 degrees and dry.