Alex Pettee, CFA
Shutdown Gloom Negates Housing Boom
U.S. equity markets delivered a mixed week as optimism about forthcoming coronavirus vaccines and stellar housing market data was negated by mounting concerns over cascading coronavirus-induced economic shutdowns.
While the large-cap indexes posted declines on the week, small-cap and mid-cap indexes each delivered another week of strong gains amid an ongoing post-vaccine "sector rotation" pattern.
Following a historically strong week for the real estate sector, Equity REITs retreated by 1.0% with 12 of 18 property sectors in negative territory. Mortgage REITs, however, jumped another 4.2%.
A busy slate of housing data this week indicated that the red-hot housing industry has exhibited few signs of cooling into the winter months. Homebuilder Sentiment, Housing Starts, and Existing Home Sales all topped estimates.
The booming U.S. housing market has been a boon for not only homebuilders and brokers but also home improvement companies. Home Depot commented that "homes have never been more important" for its customers.
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