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U.S. Home Prices Increased in December

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Iconic department store Macy’s ((M - Free Report) once again easily outperformed expectations in its Q4 earnings report released ahead of the opening bell today: earnings of $2.45 per share beat the Zacks consensus by 45 cents, while sales of $8.67 billion in the quarter took out the $8.45 billion estimate. Same-store sales of +27.8% toppled the +24.25% analysts were looking for.

Digital sales continues to move in a positive direction, +12% year over year. Macy’s remains among the most successful of big-box retail turnaround stories of the past few years, with its digital sales playing a growing role in overall revenues, even as pandemic conditions roll off. The company also raised revenue guidance for full-year 2022, to a range of $24.46-24.7 billion from the Zacks consensus $24.24 billion. Macy’s shares are +5.6% in pre-market trading.

The Case-Shiller Home Price Index has come out this morning, reflecting on the month of December: +18.6% in the 20-city survey and +18.8% in the overall composite demonstrate tremendous strength in housing prices for 2021 — a not-insignificant portion of overall economic inflation. This also represents the first monthly gain in the past five on the 20-city, from November’s +18.3%.

Leading the way were the usual suspects of sunny climate cities: Phoenix was +32.5%, Tampa +29.4% and Miami +27.3%. With higher interest rates on the way — but not yet here — we may be pulling forward some home-buying activity from future months currently. The Case-Shiller survey, coming as it does late in the cycle of housing data, will likely be the final word in household formation this year.

Markets remain hampered by the stalemate at the Russia-Ukraine border, where an invasion of the smaller country appears imminent, according to a fiery speech given by Russian President Putin Sunday. Yet that crucial step has yet to be taken, which keeps hope alive for a peaceful resolution… for now, anyway. The Dow is -140 points, the Nasdaq is -80 and the S&P 500 is -12 points at this hour.

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