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29-Dec2018

US markets end mostly in red on Friday

The US markets ended mostly in red on Friday as traders seemed to take a breather following the substantial volatility seen over the past several sessions. A still-unresolved government shutdown remains as an overhang for markets, as do concerns about the economy and the next round of company earnings. Traders reluctant to make any further move ahead of the New Year's Day holiday on January 01, 2019. However, Nasdaq Composite managed to eke out slender gains.

On the economic front, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released a report showing a continued drop in pending home sales in the month of November. NAR said its pending home sales index fell by 0.7 percent to 101.4 in November after plunging by 2.6 percent to 102.1 in October. The continued decline in pending home sales matched traders' estimates. A pending home sale is one in which a contract was signed but not yet closed. Normally, it takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale. While pending contracts have fallen to their lowest level since 2014, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said there is no reason to be overly concerned and predicts solid growth potential for the long-term.

A separate report from MNI Indicators showed growth in Chicago-area business activity pulled back in December after accelerating sharply in November, although the pace of growth slowed by much less than anticipated. MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer dipped to 65.4 in December after spiking to 66.4 in November, with a reading above 50 still indicating growth in regional business activity. Street had expected the barometer to drop to 62.0.

Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 76.42 points or 0.33 percent to 23,062.40 and S&P 500 slipped 3.09 points or 0.12 percent to 2,485.74, while Nasdaq was up by 5.03 points or 0.08 percent to 6,584.52.


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