By Carlos Guillen
The stock market's action this week has been phenomenal, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average has made nice gains every single day, which if it closes at its current level the index would be up over 2 percent week-to-week.
The rather encouraging action in stocks this week has been the result of favorable financial metrics from the bulk of companies that reported. Even Apple's sharp fall yesterday failed to bring markets into losing territory, clearly indicating that its systemic risk has been diminishing over time, and today Apple lost its place as the world's most valuable company, leaving Exxon as the leader once again.
On a slightly negative note, new single-family home sales landed less than expected in December. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, new home sales during December increased year-over-year by 8.8 percent and decreased month-over-month by 7.3 percent to 369,000, landing lower than the Street's consensus estimate of 385,000. However, even though new home sales declined for the month, they did climb for the full year. In fact, there were approximately 367,000 new homes were sold in 2012, representing a 19.9 percent gain from the 306,000 level reached for 2011. So a broader view is still showing a favorable uptrend in new home sales, although these sales are still significantly below the 1.28 million level reached back in 2005 and well below the 700,000 per-year rate that economists see as a healthy level.
In all, stocks are holding on to the gains made earlier in the session and the momentum continues. While this week was driven by company earnings, next week will also be driven by a slew of macroeconomic data, in particular by leading indicators such as durable goods orders and Michigan Sentiment. Ah yes, and let's not forget that the infamous jobs numbers will be presented on Friday; it will be quite an eventful week.