George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

November 26, 2014

A down day. Yes, the stock market actually went down yesterday, sort of. The Dow industrials "fell" 2.96 points, or 0.02 percent. The Nasdaq actually gained a few points in a day that can best be described as mixed. Interestingly, on a so-called down day, there were 197 stocks that closed at new 52-week highs compared with just 25 hitting new lows. Trading will likely be very slow again today as many people extend the Thanksgiving weekend and the weather back East turns very frightening.

*****

A down day. Yes, the stock market actually went down yesterday, sort of. The Dow industrials "fell" 2.96 points, or 0.02 percent. The Nasdaq actually gained a few points in a day that can best be described as mixed.

It is a very busy day for economic news. The first report showed a big jump in unemployment claims in the past week, up 21,000 to 313,000. The report snapped a streak of 10 weeks in a row when the number of claims was below 300K. However, the number of people receiving unemployment benefits on an ongoing basis did drop by 17,000.

*****

Another report showed both personal income and personal spending were up 0.2 percent in October. The spending side of the report is important because we are into the holiday season and the momentum behind spending is already building. A component in the report revised September spending from a negative 0.3 percent to unchanged. Once again, lost in the lack of professional journalism, is the impact of lower gasoline prices in the spending calculations. People were not spending as much on gasoline last month as they were in September, making it look like spending was moderate. In fact, of course, people were still buying as much gas, they just were not having to spend as much.

*****

Also, a couple of reports on housing. New single-family home sales rose 0.7 percent in October to an annualized rate of 458,000 units, the fastest pace in five months. Sales were especially strong in the Midwest, up 15.8 percent, but fell 2.7 percent here in the West. The National Association of Realtors said pending home sales, a sign of future sales activity, decreased 1.1 percent last month. "Demand is holding steady but would be more robust if it weren't for lagging wage growth and tight credit conditions that continue to hamper those individuals looking for relief from rising rents," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR.

*****

Also, Freddie Mac reported the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan declined in the past week to 3.97 percent. A year ago at this time the rate was 4.29 percent.

*****

One of the neat traditions on this Thanksgiving eve is the annual distribution of profit-sharing checks to the more than 20,000 employees at Hormel Foods. For 76 years, the Minnesota-based maker of Spam and other food products has used this day to share the wealth with their salaried and hourly workers. This year the company paid out $17.4 million to its workers. "Six consecutive years of attaining record earnings is due to our hardworking employees and their commitment to delivering trusted, high-quality products to our customers," CEO Jeffrey Ettinger said. The tradition began in 1938 when founder Jay C. Hormel made the commitment to reward workers for their contributions.

*****

Turns out Americans are not doing their fair share when it comes to a key component of the traditional Thanksgiving feast. An oversupply of cranberries from record harvests in Wisconsin and Canada has forced the Department of Agriculture to buy 68 million pounds of berries. Prices for the berries have dropped to between 10 and 19 cents a pound. In order to be profitable, growers need to see prices of at least 25 cents. The cranberries being purchased by the USDA will be used in school lunch programs -- lucky kids -- and food pantries. When it comes to my Thanksgiving preferences at dinner time, cranberries are at the bottom of the list. Sorry.

*****

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Be safe.

More George Chamberlin Columns

Stocks climb to record levels amid optimism in the economy

Stocks seesawed throughout the session on Wednesday but finished with the major market indexes at all-time highs amid optimism the economy is showing sufficient strength to weather a slowdown overseas.

George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

A down day. Yes, the stock market actually went down yesterday, sort of. The Dow industrials "fell" 2.96 points, or 0.02 percent. The Nasdaq actually gained a few points in a day that can best be described as mixed.

S&P 500 little changed near record on GDP, consumer confidence

Stocks were little changed on Tuesday as investors looked forward to Thanksgiving and several pending economic reports.

Let the shopping games begin

After months of forecasting and analysis, the time has finally arrived to let the games begin.

Weekly Updates

Lynn Reaser, Leslie Kilpatrick on SD's real estate market

Nov. 20 1014 -- George Chamberlin speaks with Dr. Lynn Reaser, chief economist for Point Loma Nazarene University at the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute, and Leslie Kilpatrick, 2014 president of the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors, about recovery in the local real estate market.

San Diego Stock Exchange

U.S. Markets

Index Value Change
{{name}} {{value}} {{daychange}}
Updated: -/-/---- -:-- --

San Diego Stock Exchange

Best Performers

Company $ Chg % Chg
{{companysymbol}} {{changefrom}} {{percentchange}}

Worst Performers

Company $ Chg % Chg
{{companysymbol}} {{changefrom}} {{percentchange}}
Updated: -/-/---- -:-- --

Video Interviews

Lynn Reaser, Leslie Kilpatrick on SD's real estate market

Nov. 20 1014 -- George Chamberlin speaks with Dr. Lynn Reaser, chief economist for Point Loma Nazarene University at the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute, and Leslie Kilpatrick, 2014 president of the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors, about recovery in the local real estate market.

Subscribe Today!