US Close: Tough to hold risk into long weekend, Housing Sales Impress

Investors are having a hard time holding onto risk as the likelihood that the standoff between the West and Russia will ultimately lead to some ground conflict. US stocks gave up earlier gains after the Russian press confirmed reports of the evacuation of residents from East Ukraine to Russia and then turned negative after reports over an explosion in Donetsk. The US believes the risk is very high that Russia will invade Ukraine and that means Wall Street will remain jittery until we see a major de-escalation, which now seems unlikely.  The risks of regional warfare are growing and that is a difficult environment for risk appetite. With US stock markets closed on Monday for President’s Day, many investors are preferring to hold cash given the intensifying situation at the Ukraine border.    

US data

The housing market saw an unexpected surge of buying in January as buyers tried to lock in mortgage rates.  January home sales rose 6.7% , much better than the expected drop of 1.3% and prior decline of 3.8%.  Inventories fell to a record low, which explains why building permits impressed so much yesterday.  Next month’s existing home sales report will likely come back to earth as this one was pumped up by an unusual amount of cash buyers and surging borrowing costs will start to weigh on buyers.

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Ed Moya

Ed Moya

Contributing Author at OANDA
With more than 20 years’ trading experience, Ed Moya was a Senior Market Analyst with OANDA for the Americas from November 2018 to November 2023. His particular expertise lies across a wide range of asset classes including FX, commodities, fixed income, stocks and cryptocurrencies. Over the course of his career, Ed has worked with some of the leading forex brokerages, research teams and news departments on Wall Street including Global Forex Trading, FX Solutions and Trading Advantage. Prior to OANDA he worked with, where he provided market analysis on economic data and corporate news. Based in New York, Ed is a regular guest on several major financial television networks including CNBC, Bloomberg TV, Yahoo! Finance Live, Fox Business, cheddar news, and CoinDesk TV. His views are trusted by the world’s most respected global newswires including Reuters, Bloomberg and the Associated Press, and he is regularly quoted in leading publications such as MSN, MarketWatch, Forbes, Seeking Alpha, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Ed holds a BA in Economics from Rutgers University.