Daily Market Color

Tax Bill Officially Passes

The John Hancock of Donald Trump is now the last remaining step to officially put Republican lawmakers’ sweeping tax reform into effect.  Yesterday evening the Senate passed the measure via a 51-48 vote, while the House voted in favor of the bill again this morning (224-201) after a minor hiccup in yesterday’s process.  President Trump is expected to hold off on signing the tax bill into law until after a discussion with Congress later this week on other government spending measures.  The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act represents the largest overhaul in tax policy over the past 30 years, and Trump specifically noted the reduction of the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% as “probably the biggest factor in this plan.”



US stocks were seemingly unaffected by the tax reform news, as all three major indices finished just below even for the trading session.  Treasury bonds sold off for a third consecutive session in a bear-steepening pattern, with the yield on the 10-year note closing at a 9-month high of 2.50%.  In commodities, crude oil futures rose nearly 1% on the day, driven by a reduction in US crude stockpiles and increased foreign demand.  A barrel of WTI crude is now trading above $58, close to its highest levels of the month.    



Existing Home Sales Surge, Supply Shrinks

A report from the National Association of Realtors today reflected a larger-than-expected increase in existing home sales during the month of November while inventories continue to tighten.  Sales of previously owned homes rose 5.6% (+0.9%e) last month to a seasonally adjusted pace of 5.81 million (11-year high), driven largely by gains in the Midwest and South.  First-time homebuyers accounted for 29% of the overall sales (40% typically), a sign that rising home prices may be hindering younger Americans’ ability to successfully enter the housing market.  The median house price in the US climbed to $248,000, up 5.8% YoY, as declines in supply continue to support home sale prices.  Compared to a year earlier, supply was down 9.7%, marking the 30th consecutive month that inventories were down on an annualized basis.


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