Post Christmas Slow Down & Economic Data

Despite the post-Christmas slowdown of the markets, economic data is still coming in.  Wednesday morning provided us with another look at both the Pending Home Sales Index and the Consumer Confidence report.  Both came in a little lower than expected.

Pending home sales data reported by Econoday: The pending home sales index has been flat and has not been in line with the strength of final sales of existing homes. This may limit the impact of today’s report where the November index managed only a 0.2 percent gain to a 109.5 level that is still below last year’s levels. In contrast, existing home sales, at a 5.810 million annualized rate in data released last week for November, are at the highest level of the economic expansion. The pending index is up only 0.8 percent vs this time last year, again well below final sales where the year-on-year gain is 3.8 percent.

The regional breakdown in today’s report shows small declines in the West and South, a small gain for the Midwest and a sharp 4.1 percent jump for the Northeast where home sales, both resales and new home sales, have been showing marked acceleration.

Out of the two reports, the consumer confidence is arguably more important for day traders.  Econoday again reporting the following: After posting back-to-back 17-year highs, the consumer confidence index cooled slightly in the December report, to 122.1 vs a revised 128.6 in November and 126.2 in October. But very importantly the cooling doesn’t include the assessment of the current jobs market where only 15.2 percent say jobs are hard to get vs 16.8 and 17.1 percent in the prior two months. This reading is closely watched and will confirm expectations for another strong monthly employment report (which will be next week’s economic highlight).

Despite coming in lower than expected it is still at a very good level overall.