Blog Post

After three weeks of declines, stocks rose this week buoyed Thursday by the European Central Bank’s announcement of quantitative easing.  In addition to Europe’s moves, China injected $8BN into its banking system to try to spur lending.  Bonds were mostly unchanged and the US dollar rose sharply against other currencies.

  •       The Commerce Department reported that housing starts rose 4.4% in December from the previous month.  Single family home starts rose 4.5%.  For the calendar       year 2014 housing starts rose 8.8% with wide variations from month to month.
  •       The National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales rose 2.4% in December from the prior month and 3.5% from a year ago.
  •       The Labor Department reported that first time claims for jobless benefits were a seasonally adjusted 307,000 in the week ending January 17th.  The week before            was revised from 316,000 to 317,000.  This marks three weeks in a row that claims were above 300,000.  The four week moving average also rose to 306,500.              This may indicate a slowdown of jobs growth which has been the engine of economic growth.
  •       HSBC reported that the Chinese manufacturing index for January was 49.8 following a revised 49.6 in December.  This still represents contraction albeit at a                 slower pace.


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