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US Equities Hug the Flat Line on Slow Trading Day


Today's financial recap and tomorrow's financial outlook.

Iran and other major countries came to an agreement yesterday with Iran promising to curtail some of its nuclear activities in order to reduce the current economic sanctions against the country regarding oil, auto parts, gold, and other precious metals. Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude oil both initially fell more than 2%, but recovered losses to finish slightly down for the day.

US stock indices opened to new record highs this morning and the Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) breached 4,000 for the first time since September 2000. Gains were moderated throughout the day and the major indices closed at or around the flat line. In the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX), health-care stocks led for the fourth straight day and energy-related stocks were the worst performers. Volume remained low at only 66% of the 10-day average with the Thanksgiving holiday on the horizon.

Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) CEO Mike Duke resigned today and the company announced that Doug McMillon would succeed him. In other news, Fiat (BIT:F) announced that automaker Chrysler, which it acquired in 2011, would not pursue an IPO this year as had been previously announced.

Pending existing-home sales fell 0.6% month-over-month in October and are now down 2.2% from a year ago. The annual decline is the slowest rate since April 2011. A regional survey of Dallas manufacturers declined to an index reading of 1.9 from 3.6 in October. The survey's components actually saw an increase in manufacturer activity and employment.

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

The US will release September and October housing starts tomorrow in addition to home price data from September. October housing starts are expected to increase to an annual rate of 920,000. Building permits are expected to increase to 930,000. September home prices are estimated to rise 13% year-over-year according to the S&P/Case Shiller home price index.

The Conference Board's consumer confidence will also be reported tomorrow morning. The index of confidence fell to 71.2 last month due to the government shutdown, from 80.2 in September. Economists estimate that the index will rise to 72.6 in November.

Global market-moving news should be light tomorrow. The minutes of the Bank of Japan's meeting from earlier this month will be released. Additionally, Japanese small-business confidence data will also be released.

Earnings will make tomorrow the single busiest day in this holiday-shortened week. Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS), TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), and Tiffany's (NYSE:TIF) are scheduled to report.

Twitter: @Minyanville

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