There was good economic news on Monday! Existing home sales jumped in December, boosted by lower mortgage rates and, here's the downside unfortunately, sharply falling home prices. Money moved into the stock market on the report, pushing the Dow industrials up 0.5 percent. But gains were limited by a deep and unusual run of company layoff announcements that included cuts by General Motors and Caterpillar to name just two.
News from U.K. financial firm Barclays that it won't need capital injections was more good news in the session, news that pushed up demand for sterling and the euro and pushed down the dollar which lost nearly 2 cents against the euro to end at $1.3168. Money moved out U.S. Treasuries where yields moved slightly higher, from 1/2 basis point on the 3-month T-bill to 6 basis points for the 30-year bond, ending at 0.10 percent and 3.38 percent respectively.
Oil and gold were little changed with oil holding firm above $45 on reports of deep OPEC output cuts and gold holding over $900 at just under $910. Copper was a big gainer on the day, ending 10% higher on expectations that rising home sales may lead to improved demand for construction and electrical products.