US stocks were mixed on Wednesday, as the Dow and S&P 500 closed in the black and the Nasdaq retreated. Most sectors in the S&p 500 index were higher, led by gains in Energy shares, real estate bucked the trend. New Home sales fell more than expected while Jobless claims rose less than expected. Durable goods orders rose but consumer spending declined.
New Home Sales Fell More than Expected
New home sales fell by more than expected declining by 11% in November from October. October’s reading was also revised lower. Sales hit an annualized rate of 841,000, down from the 979,000 peak in July. These numbers are based on contracts signed, not closings. Sales were up 20.8% year over year.
Consumer Spending Declined
Consumers closed their wallets last month, cutting spending by 0.4%, according to the Commerce Department. They cut spending on services such as restaurant meals, as well as purchases of goods, including big-ticket items like cars and appliances.
Jobless Claims Rose Less than Expected
According to the Labor Department, new jobless claims were 803,000 for the week ended December 19, down from an upwardly revised 892,000 the prior week. The weekly figures can be volatile around the holidays due to seasonal-adjustment issues.
Durable Goods Orders Rose
Orders for durable goods rose 0.9% last month, according to the Commerce Department. The rise in part reflected increasing business investment as companies, taking advantage of low-interest rates, are buying equipment and software.