This November increase matched the forecast of economists polled by, and it was a nice change after a flat October reading (revised down from an initially reported 0.1% gain). Consumer incomes also rose 0.3% in November. (1)

At mid-month, the preliminary University of Michigan consumer sentiment index presented a reading of 91.8. Last week, it rose slightly to 92.6. Analysts surveyed by expected a final December reading of 92.0. (1)

New mortgage disclosure rules instituted by the federal government delayed some closings in November. Therefore, the 10.5% slip in resales reported by the National Association of Realtors was not all that surprising. New home sales fared better in November: the Census Bureau reported a 4.3% increase. Year-over-year, new home buying was up 9.1%. (2)

The Bureau of Economic Analysis revised its third-quarter growth estimate last week; its prior appraisal was 2.1%. In a development related to this quarter’s GDP, hard goods orders were flat in November. (1)

The NYMEX price of WTI crude settled at $38.10 a barrel Christmas Eve, rising 5.7% for the trading week. Wall Street, as a consequence, had its best week since mid-November. The S&P 500 rose 2.76% during three-and-a-half trading days to 2,060.99, while the Dow gained 2.47% to 17,552.17, and the Nasdaq advanced 2.55% t0 5,048.49. (3,4)

THIS WEEK: Nothing major is scheduled for Monday. Tuesday sees the release of the October S&P/Case-Shiller home price index and the Conference Board’s December consumer confidence index. On Wednesday, NAR’s November pending home sales index appears. The Labor Department issues a weekly jobless claims report on Thursday, which is also New Year’s Eve; the bond market will close at 2:00pm EST, but the NYSE and NASDAQ will be open regular hours. New Year’s Day falls on Friday, with all U.S. financial markets closed.


“No one is ready for a thing until he believes he can acquire it.”
– Napoleon Hill


Before 2016 begins, take a look at your spending patterns. Which expenses are necessary, which less so? In reviewing them, you could spot opportunities to save money next year.

They are found around the world, attached to ground. They lack mouths, yet they enjoy a light meal each day. What are they?

Last week’s riddle:
Normally flat and often inscribed, it can fall off the tallest building and land unscathed, but it can fall off a kayak or raft and be ruined. What is it?

Last week’s answer:
A piece of paper.

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