Mixed economic news on the housing and manufacturing fronts did not prevent the stock market from rising as third-quarter bank earnings showed continued strength with Citigroup’s report of $2.17 billion in profits.
Stocks closed higher on Monday, with the Dow Jones industrial average up 80.91 points, or 0.73%, at 11,143.69. The S&P 500 was up 8.52 points, or 0.72%, at 1,184.71. The Nasdaq index closed up 11.89 points, 0.48%, at 2,480.66.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported Monday that builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose 3 points to 16 on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) for October. This was the first improvement registered by the HMI in five months, and returns the index to a level last seen in June of this year.
The rising level of confidence was dampened, however, by the report’s assertion that financing remains scarce for both buyers and builders.
"Builders are starting to see some flickers of interest among potential buyers, and are hopeful that this interest will translate to more sales in the coming months," said NAHB Chairman Bob Jones, a home builder from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., in a news release. "However, because most builders still
have no access to credit for building homes, there is a real concern that we will not be able to meet the pent-up demand when consumers are ready to get back in the market. This problem threatens to severely slow the housing and economic recovery."