The Week Ahead: Time to Parse the Forecasts

Last week all the major market indices eked out positive gains, even despite the late-week reversal, which came as "fiscal cliff" discussions took a turn for the worse. As the market closed out the trading week, Congress and President Obama left Washington for the Christmas holiday. With five trading days left until the end of the year, the growing consensus is that the U.S. economy may indeed go over the fiscal cliff at least for a brief period. 

All the attention on fiscal-cliff conversations has likely left a number of investors in the lurch concerning key economic data this past week. The two noteworthy standouts were the favorable housing data and the continued relative strength in durable orders. Several pieces of housing data were bullish, among them the December reading from the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, as well as November housing starts, building permits and existing-home sales. When combined with continued tight inventory for single-family homes, these metrics bode well for the housing market and housing stocks.  ...610 more words left in this article. To read them, just click below and try Real Money FREE for 14 days.

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