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U.S. stocks traded lower yesterday, as investors returned from the long holiday break, with technology stocks coming under pressure as shares of Apple declined.

Shares of retailers were broadly higher yesterday, with a key sector tracker surging toward a one-year high, after a report that holiday spending rose more than expected to record levels.  A SpendingPulse report on national retail sales, across all payment types, said retail sales during the holiday season increased 4.9% from a year ago, the fastest pace of growth since 2011. Dollars spent this season set a record, helped by an 18.1% jump in online shopping and heavy early-season promotions.

The S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7% in the three-month period ending in October. It was up 6.2% compared to the same period a year ago. The 20-city index also rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7% for the month and it’s up 6.4% for the year.  The cities with the largest home price appreciation over the last year were Seattle up 12.7% and Las Vegas up 10.2%.

The e-commerce giant Amazon said yesterday morning that customers were shopping on its website at "record levels" throughout November and December, and over the course of one week, more than 4 million people became Prime members or started a free trial, sending Amazon's membership count to new highs.

And Oil prices touched two-and-a-half year highs in light volume, boosted by an explosion on a crude pipeline in Libya and voluntary OPEC-led supply cuts.

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management I’m Tyler Simones

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