Two new reports on Thursday added additional good news to that already reported Wednesday.
Strong retail sales and a healthy reading on the housing market further boosted investor confidence in a recovery that is finding its footing and starting to fire on many cylinders.
Monthly sales volumes from individual department, chain, discount, and apparel stores are usually reported on the first Thursday of each month. This month, that report registered a surge in retail sales for November. Gains appear across the spectrum of stores: big to small, high-end to low-end, general merchandise to apparel.
Year over year sales gains for these stores have now shifted from the low to mid single digit percentage gain to the mid to high single digit percentage gain. Today's results combined with yesterday's strong report for vehicle sales points to a U.S. consumer is solidly participating in the recovery.
And on the housing front, the pending home sales index jumped 10.4 percent in October to indicate gains ahead for existing home sales. The index at 89.3 is up 18 percent from its post-stimulus low in June. Low home prices and low rates appear to be stimulating demand. The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes.
In response to these additional pieces of good news, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 106 points. Combined with the 249-point gain Wednesday, the index has now had its best two-day run since July 7-8.
Where the market will go from here and the stock market trend in 2011, is of course anyone's guess.
When all you read is gloom, turn here for a much different perspective.