Monday, March 23, 2009

VIDEO: Stocks Rally As Housing Numbers Exceed Expectations

In related news, President Obama unveiled Tim Geithner's $1 Trillion bailout plan for toxic assets.

In case anyone hadn't noticed, Geithner conveniently did not speak a word today. Obama and Economic Advisors Christina Romer and Larry Summers handled the media.

Maybe the markets are just happy they didn't have to listen to Timmy "Hermey the Elf" Geithner today.

FOX Business reports:

The number of existing homes sold in February unexpectedly rose last month, an industry trade organization said Monday, as distressed home sales continued to remain the dominant force in the nation’s impaired housing market.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the number of homes sold rose 5.1% to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 4.72 million units in February up from 4.49 million annualized units.

The jump in sales was much better than what economists had predicted, who were expecting existing home sales to fall to 4.45 million units. The data helped boost stocks broadly, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average up nearly 300 points.

While the increased sale of homes is a welcome sign to Wall Street -- as many believe that the housing will eventually lead the nation’s economy out of this recession -- the bulk of February’s sales were distressed purchases. The average price for a home sold was $165,400, down 15.5% from a year ago.

“Because entry level buyers are shopping for bargains, distressed sales accounted for 40% to 45% of the transactions in February,” said NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun in a statement.

As it has been for the past couple months, existing home sales were stronger in the West than the rest of the nation -- primarily in the struggling housing market of California. Existing home sales in the region were up 2.6% from a month ago to 1.2 million annualized units, and are up 30.4% from a year ago.

In the Northeast, sales rose 15.6% to an annualized rate of 740,000 units and are down 14.9% from a year ago. In the Midwest, sales were basically flat -- up 1% -- to 1.04 million units.

In the struggling Southern market, existing home sales rose 6.1% to an annualized rate of 1.74 million units, according to the trade organization.

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