Stocks mixed…Trump to sign first phase of China deal…Confidence down slightly
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are off to a mixed start on Wall Street on the last day of 2019. Many world markets, including Tokyo’s, have already ended trading for the year. The S&P 500 is on track for its best year since 2013. U.S. markets are open for a full trading day before the New Year’s Day holiday on Wednesday. They re-open Thursday.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – President Donald Trump says he’ll be signing the first phase of a trade deal with China at the White House next month. Trump says Tuesday in a tweet that he’ll then travel to Beijing at a later date to open talks on other sticking points in the U.S.-China trade relationship that remain to be worked out. In the deal that was reached earlier in December, the U.S. agreed to reduce tariffs on China and China agreed to buy larger quantities of U.S. farm products. Remaining sticking points would be worked out during a second round of trade talks.
BALTIMORE (AP) – U.S. consumer confidence is down slightly in December with expectations about economic growth over the next six months falling. The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index edged down to 126.5 from November’s reading of 126.8. áAmericans felt largely confident about business conditions this month during the holiday shopping season, yet their confidence wavered somewhat regarding job availability and income growth for the first half of 2020.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. home prices rose faster in October than the previous month as many would-be buyers competed for a limited supply of available properties. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 2.2% in October from a year ago, up from a 2.1% annual gain in September. The Tuesday report suggests home prices are rising again after the pace of gains hit a seven-year low in July.áThe Federal Reserve’s three cuts to short-term interest rates in 2019 have accelerated sales of new and existing homes. The sales pickup may now be pushing up prices more quickly.
TOKYO (AP) – Nissan’s former Chairman Carlos Ghosn says from Lebanon he was not fleeing justice but instead left Japan to avoid “injustice and political persecution”áover financial misconduct allegations. Ghosn had been released on bail while awaiting trial but was not allowed to travel overseas. It’s not clear how he left Japan, where he had been under surveillance. Japan does not have an extradition treaty with Lebanon. His lawyer says he was stunned and denied any involvement in or knowledge of Ghosn’s escape. Ghosn insists he is innocent and says the case was trumped up to prevent a planned fuller merger between Nissan Motor Co. and alliance partner Renault SA.