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1) Fannie Mae’s December National Housing Survey showed that consumer confidence in the housing sector increased last month as Americans continued to expect home prices to grow. The survey’s results were marked by positive attitudes toward home price, rental price, and mortgage rate expectations, and participants’ belief that housing indicators will improve this year could contribute to a boost in home purchase activity in the coming months, according to the mortgage association… (Read more.)
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2) Also in housing news, ten U.S. banks have agreed to pay a combined $8.5 billion in penalties under an agreement with the Office of the Comptroller and the Federal Reserve. The banks, which include JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), and Citigroup (NYSE:C), are accused of misleading borrowers and homeowners during the housing crisis, and behaving in a way that resulted in fraudulent foreclosures.
3) As a result of the last-minute deal made to avoid the fiscal cliff in the United States, risky euro-zone bonds had a strong start to the year, supporting expectations that deposit rates will be left unchanged after Thursday’s European Central Bank meeting. Now, many traders are left unprepared for the possibility that the ECB may ease lending conditions this week by cutting rates… (Read more.)
At 12:45 p.m.: DJIA: -0.61%, S&P 500: -0.66%, Nasdaq: -0.39%.
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