Stocks slip Thursday on disappointing economic reports.
Although the Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to hit new record intraday and closing highs on Thursday, stocks generally declined in the wake of an awful report on initial unemployment claims from the Department of Labor. Initial claims for the week ending December 14 climbed by 10,000 to a dismal, 379,000. The four-week moving average climbed by 13,250 to 343,500.
The National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales declined 4.3 percent in November to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.90 million. Economists were expecting a SAAR of 5.04 million. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) picked up 11 points to finish Thursday’s trading session at a record-high close of 16,179.08 for a 0.07 percent advance, after hitting a record intraday high of 16,194.72. The S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) dipped 0.06 percent to close at 1,809. The Nasdaq 100 (NASDAQ:QQQ) declined 0.31 percent to finish at 3,498. The Russell 2000 (NYSEARCA:IWM) fell 0.73 percent to end the day at 1,125.
On London’s ICE Futures Europe Exchange, February futures for Brent crude oil advanced 53 cents (0.48 percent) to $110.16/bbl. (NYSEARCA:BNO). February gold futures declined $45.90 (3.72 percent) to $1,189.10 per ounce (NYSEARCA:GLD). Transports were moving ahead through snowbound traffic on Thursday, as the Dow Jones Transportation Average (NYSEARCA:IYT) crept forward by 0.04 percent.
In Japan, the exchange rate for the yen continued to be the dominant factor in stock market activity. Japanese stocks advanced as the yen weakened to 104.13 per dollar during the last hour of Thursday’s trading session in Tokyo. A weaker yen causes Japanese exports to be more competitively priced in foreign markets (NYSEARCA:FXY).
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