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Weekly Market Wrap: December 19, 2014
The Online Investor - Fri., Dec. 19, 4:36 PM

The fifty-first trading week of 2014 comes to a close with the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and NASDAQ composite slightly higher in early-afternoon trading on Friday.

Most actively traded stocks include Bank of America (BAC) up 0.4%, Apple (AAPL) lower by 0.27%, General Electric (GE) higher by 0.8%, and BlackBerry (BBRY) down 0.7%.

Hi. I'm Kristin Bianco. Welcome to the 'Weekly Market Wrap' for December 19, 2014.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite are all significantly higher in the last five days of trading.

Crude oil futures are lower so far this week, trading at $56.17 per barrel on Friday afternoon.

And Gold futures are also lower so far this week, trading at $1196.50 an ounce this afternoon.

In economic news, privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,035,000. This is 5.2 percent below the revised October rate of 1,092,000 and is 0.2 percent below the November 2013 estimate of 1,037,000. Single-family authorizations in November were at a rate of 639,000; this is 1.2 percent below the revised October figure of 647,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 367,000 in November.

Privately-owned housing starts in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,028,000. This is 1.6 percent below the revised October estimate of 1,045,000 and is 7.0 percent below the November 2013 rate of 1,105,000. Single-family housing starts in November were at a rate of 677,000; this is 5.4 percent below the revised October figure of 716,000. The November rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 340,000.

Privately-owned housing completions in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 863,000. This is 6.4 percent below the revised October estimate of 922,000, but is 4.5 percent above the November 2013 rate of 826,000. Single-family housing completions in November were at a rate of 596,000; this is 2.9 percent below the revised October rate of 614,000. The November rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 256,000.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers declined 0.3 percent in November on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.3 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The gasoline index posted its sharpest decline since December 2008 and was the main cause of the decrease in the seasonally adjusted all items index. The indexes for fuel oil and natural gas also declined, and the energy index fell 3.8 percent. The food index rose 0.2 percent with major grocery store food groups mixed.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1 percent in November. The shelter index rose 0.3 percent, and the indexes for medical care, airline fares, and alcoholic beverages also rose. In contrast, the indexes for apparel, used cars and trucks, recreation, household furnishings and operations, personal care, and new vehicles all declined in November.

The all items index increased 1.3 percent over the last 12 months, a notable decline from the 1.7 percent figure from the 12 months ending October. The index for all items less food and energy has increased 1.7 percent over the last 12 months, compared to 1.8 percent for the 12 months ending October. The food index has risen 3.2 percent over the span. However, the energy index has declined 4.8 percent over the past 12 months, with the gasoline and fuel oil indexes both falling over 10 percent.

In the week ending December 13, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 289,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 294,000 to 295,000. The 4-week moving average was 298,750, a decrease of 750 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 299,250 to 299,500.

In corporate dividend news, Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) declared a $0.79 per share dividend for the first quarter of 2015. The dividend will be paid on March 6, 2015, to all stockholders of record as of the close of business on Feb. 12, 2015. This represents a 30 percent increase from that paid in each of the previous four quarters.

General Mills declared a quarterly dividend at the prevailing rate of $.41 per share, payable Feb. 2, 2015, to shareholders of record Jan. 12, 2015. The current annualized dividend rate of $1.64 per share is a 6 percent increase over the dividend rate of $1.55 per share in fiscal 2014.

CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) approved a 27% increase in its quarterly cash dividend, to $0.35 per share on the common stock of the company. This increase translates to $1.40 per share annually, up 30 cents per share. The quarterly dividend is payable on February 2, 2015, to holders of record on January 22, 2015.

3M (NYSE:MMM) declared a dividend on the company's common stock of $1.025 per share for the first quarter of 2015, a 20 percent increase over the quarterly dividend paid in 2014. The dividend is payable Mar. 12, 2015, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Feb. 13, 2015. 3M has paid dividends to its shareholders without interruption for 98 years.

Boeing (NYSE:BA) increased the company's authorization for its share repurchase plan to $12 billion and declared that the company's regular quarterly dividend will increase by 25 percent to 91 cents per share. The dividend declared is payable March 6, 2015, to shareholders of record as of February 13, 2015.

And, Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY) announced a 2 percent increase in its quarterly dividend. The board has declared a dividend for the first quarter of 2015 of $0.50 per share on outstanding common stock. This raises the annual indicated rate to $2.00 per share. The dividend is payable March 10, 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 13, 2015.

This is the 'Weekly Market Wrap' for Friday December 19, 2014.

Please join us on Monday for the Week Ahead Market Report.

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December 21, 2014    12:25 AM Eastern


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