Stocks Struggle to Cross Key Milestone

By ABC News

Nov 19, 2013 8:53am

Morning Business Memo

By John Kapetaneas

The march to Dow 16,000 ended shy of the mark on Monday, after trading over that level for much of the day. Early trading pushed the DJIA to a record high of 16,028 and the S&P to a high of 1,802, before a late pullback pushed both indices lower for the day. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn tweeted that he was becoming “cautious” on stocks, echoing many traders’ sentiments about the new highs being largely Fed-driven. Dow and S&P futures fell this morning.

European and Asian stocks trading lower on Tuesday, with many indices showing red across the board. Major currencies are showing little change in the last 24 hours. Crude oil dropped slightly to $92.75; gold rose $3.10 to $1,275.

The US Housing market index was unchanged for November, as the National Association of Home Builders reports that builder confidence is holding steady for the month. The indication is that more builders are seeing the market for newly built, single family homes as good rather than poor. Tomorrow the government will release October retail sales, and the Labor Department will release the Consumer Price Index for that month.

JP Morgan settled with the Justice Department on Monday, agreeing to the landmark $13 billion settlement over the mortgage meltdown that kicked off the financial crisis in 2007-08.. The final deal is expected to be announced today, officially making the case the largest settlement between the government and a corporation.

The case is on for Bitcoin, after a Congressional hearing Monday where several senior US lawmakers commented that the virtual currency, which has been used in a host of illegal activities online, may have a future and could become a legitimate financial service. Fed Chair Ben Bernanke said in a letter to senators that the online currency “may hold long-term promise.” Bitcoin prices soared to $700 in some markets, after trading as low as $13 in January.

In earnings reports, Best Buy posted profit of $0.18 a share, beating estimates,  while revenue of $9.36 billion fell marginally short of the $9.37 billion expected. Home Depot also beat analyst estimates, with revenue up 7 percent to $19.47 billion. Campbell’s missed their estimates in early reports, with sales declining 1.8 percent to $2.17 billion.

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