Markets hit new highs today in the wake of some strong economic data.
First the scoreboard:
And now the top stories:
- The bullish housing story continues to get more exciting. Housing starts surged 12.1 percent in December to 954,000 at an annualized rate. Economists expected starts to rise just 3.3 percent to 890,000. November housing starts were revised down to 851,000 from a prior reading of 861,000.
- According to RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings plunged to a 6-year low in December. One in every 810 homes received a foreclosure filing during the month. In 2012, one in every 72 homes received a foreclosure filing. Florida was the worst state with one in every 32 homes receiving a filing.
- Initial jobless claims plunged to 335k last week, which was much better than the 369k reading economists were looking for. However, some economists were quick to cry foul. "However, the claims data can be very volatile around the turn of the year and the Department of Labor indicated that at least some of this most recent drop may have been due to an “adjustment issue,” so it is likely not a very reliable indicator for the labor market," wrote JP Morgan's Daniel Silver. "It may take a few more weeks until we can get a clean read on the labor market from the claims numbers."
- On the earnings front, Citigroup and Bank of America both announced their Q4 financial results. Citi's earnings fell short of expectations. While Bank of America appeared to report earnings in line with expectations, the stock nevertheless sold off. SEE ALSO: The 22 Most Controversial Stocks In America >
- The yen tanked today, extending the hottest currency trade in the world. In fact, it briefly fell to 90 yen per dollar for the first time since June 2010. Earlier today, Reuters reported that the Bank of Japan was considering open-ended quantitative easing in its effort to weaken the currency, spur inflation, and heat up the economy.
- Intel's Q4 earnings announcement leaked minutes before the closing bell. Shares spiked after the chip giant reported what appeared to be better-than-expected earnings.
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