Amid a shortened week with attention going to the inauguration on Wednesday, markets were relatively calm. Tuesday’s strength gave back some gains on Friday with renewed risks of prolonged COVID impacts in Europe, yet the S&P 500 ended the week up 1.96%.
Markit’s Composite survey of U.S. business activity expanded at the second-fastest pace since 2015, coming in at 58, versus 55.3 last month. In contrast, the measure within the Euro area where it contracted for the third month in a row, potentially pointing to a double-dip recession across the pond.
Existing home sales unexpectedly popped in December, increasing by 0.7% vs. November and putting the cap on the best year in the housing market since the mid-2000s, boosted by historically low rates. Strong sales helped push inventory to a record low.
Initial jobless claims remained above 900K for the second week in a row, though it did improve to 900K (vs. revised 926K figure the week prior).