Global equity markets continued their bull run to break more records before closing for the Christmas holiday. The Dow gained 63 points, or 0.4%, and the S&P 500 and NASDAQ traded in the green. The gains were enough to push the Dow and S&P 500 to record highs, and the NASDAQ to a new 13-year high. US markets closed early for the Christmas holiday and very few are trading on Christmas day, the only major exchange it the Nikkei which is showing extremely low volume this morning The Nikkei broke 16,000 for the first time in around six years Tuesday, aided by strength in U.S. and major European equities. The key market gauge climbed 18.91 points to end the session at 15,889.33 after topping the 16,000 line on an intraday basis for the first time since Dec. 11, 2007. An 11.20-point gainer Friday, the Nikkei extended its winning streak to a fifth day. Japanese stocks inched downward Christmas day. Shanghai stocks edged up Wednesday in quiet trading, following overnight gains on Wall Street, while most other Asian markets were closed for the Christmas holiday. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.1% to 2093.92.
Currency markets ended the day quietly as traders were more focused on equities, although the euro eased against the dollar as the greenback gained momentum as data showed a strong improvement in the housing market, which was the only spotty sector of the economy that worried the Federal Reserve. Single family homes declined by remained close to their fastest pace since 2008. Construction and Building companies are increasingly cheery, with a gauge of their views on present sales of single-family homes recently hitting the highest level since 2005, according to the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo. And there’s reason for cheer: Sales of new single-family homes in November were up 17% from a year earlier. The euro is trading at 1.3682 on the holiday and is expected to continue decline on light trading on Thursday with the many countries still out on the extended holiday. The US dollar regained losses earlier in the week to end at 80.67 as the US economy seems to be on a faster recovery tract than previously predicted. The pound is trading at 1.6369 with UK markets shuttered for the next two days.
The only market action was the Japanese yen today, which is trading at 104.36 against the greenback and at 142.54 against the euro. The Japanese government approved Prime Minister Abe’s record ¥95.88 trillion general account budget for fiscal 2014 as the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks simultaneously to conquer decades of deflation and restore the nation’s precarious fiscal health. With spending on defense, public works and social security programs increasing, policy spending will reach a record ¥72.61 trillion, up ¥2.24 trillion from the original budget for this year.