Markets Rise on Improvements in Durable Goods, Housing

Markets were up across the board today. Gains were realized in both domestic and foreign markets alike. European stocks rose a little higher as investors wait anxiously for the European Union summit Thursday. The euro was stable against the dollar, and both Spanish and Italian bond yields held steady. On the domestic front, markets in the US got some push upwards from today’s economic report.

Durable goods have been down lately – numbers came in down in two of the last three reports – but today’s report showed marked improvement. New factory orders rose 1.1%, topping previous levels of 0.2% and beating consensus estimates of 0.4%. Analyst estimates ranged from -1.0% to 1.0%. New orders are down by the year, at 4.6% for the year, which is significantly under the previous level of 6.9%. Excluding transportation, durable goods still showed some improvement but not as much. New orders excluding transportation were at 0.4% for the month, topping the -0.6% seen the previous month but they missed the consensus estimate of 0.8%; analyst estimates ranged from -0.5% to 1.5%. Look at year over year, ex-transportation also came in low. It was at 3.8%, down from a previous level of 6.3%.

Dow Jones Industrial Average 2 Minute (INDEXDJX:^DJI)There was also good news out of the housing sectors today. The pending home sales index came in at 101.1, up from a prior level of 95.5. Moreover, at 5.9%, it more than surpassed the previous level of -5.5% as well as consensus estimates of 1.2%; analyst estimates ranged from -1.6% to 4.0%. More importantly though, the gain was not centered on geographic location but rather spread evenly across regions.

Refineries are also in high gear right now. They reached an operating capacity of 92.6% in the June 22 week, which means they are producing 9.3 million barrels of gasoline per day. This marks the second highest level of the year. An additional 2.1 million barrels were added to production this week, up from an increase of 0.9 million barrels last week. The highest level this year came a few weeks back, when it hit 9.6 million barrels per day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 92 (+0.74%) at 12,627. The NASDAQ Composite is up 21(+0.74%) at 2,875. The S&P 500 is up 12 (+0.9%) at 1,332. In Europe, the FTSE 100 index finished up 77 (+1.4%) to 5,524. The DAX is up 92 (+1.5%) to 6,229 and the CAC 40 is up 50 (+1.7%) at 3,063.