Wednesday, August 15, 2012
U.S. stocks finished for the 8th straight session in a very narrow range, this time reversing yesterday's slight losses. The S&P 500 added 0.1% while the NASDAQ gained 0.5%. Volume remained extremely light as many key players are away for vacation. On Wednesday, the number of shares changing hands on the New York Stock Exchange totaled just 2.6 billion, compared to an average of 4 billion on an average day.
- Homebuilder confidence rose in August to a five-year high, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo sentiment index. The index rose to 37 from 35 in July. That is still well below 50, the dividing line between positive and negative sentiment about the housing market.
- Consumer prices were unchanged in July from June, the Labor Department said. A small drop in energy costs offset slightly higher food prices.
- Industrial production, which includes output at factories, mines and utilities, as up 0.6% in July from June, the fourth straight increase. Factory output rose 0.5% in July. It was the second straight monthly increase. The gain was driven by a 3.3% jump in output of motor vehicles and parts, this was due to automarkers mostly skipping their normal summer shutdowns.
Crude oil gained 1.0% to $94.33, gold added 0.26% to $1606.60, while silver added 0.18% to $27.81.
The British FTSE 100 fell 0.5%, the German DAX dropped 0.4%, while the CAC-40 fell 0.03%.
- Unemployment in the United Kingdom dropped to 8% in the three months through June, possibly due to a spate of hiring associated with the Olympic Games. The Office for National Statistics revealed that 46,000 fewer people were unemployed from the previous three month period, contributing to the fall in the overall rate from 8.2%.
The Japanese Nikkei fell 0.05%, while the Shanghai index dropped 1.1%.