Stocks in the U.S. posted modest declines on Tuesday, oscillating between positive and negative territory
as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell faced the Senate Banking Committee. The DJIA eased –
0.13% to 26,057.98 points, the S&P 500 declined -0.08% to 2,793.90 points and the Nasdaq Composite
shed -0.07% to 7,549.297 points. Housing starts in the U.S. collapsed to a more then two-year low during
December, down -11.2% MoM (exp: -0.1%) from a negatively revised +0.4% in November (prev: +3.2%).
The monthly print saw starts to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.078 million units, while building
permits outpaced expectations to edge +0.3% MoM higher (exp: -2.6%). Meanwhile S&P/Case-Shiller
reported that house prices in the U.S. increased +4.18% YoY (20-city metro), the smallest gain since
November 2014. The Conference Board’s measure of consumer confidence in the U.S. pushed higher
during February, increasing to 131.4 (exp: 124.9) from 121.7 previously. Volatility across financial market
and the Government shutdown were largely responsible for the previous months’ decline.