The stock markets in the United States gained again today as investors evaluate economic data to determine the timing of the implementation of the interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. The equity markets also benefited from investors’ optimism that a financial aid agreement would be reached between Greece and its international creditors.

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Today, the Department of Commerce reported that the sales of new sing-family homes increased 2.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000 units in May from 534,000 units in April. The median sales price of new homes sold last month declined 1% to $282,800.

Yesterday, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that the sales of previously-owned homes increased 5.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million units, the highest pace in almost six years.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said, “Solid sales gains were seen throughout the country in May as more homeowners listed their home for sale and, therefore, provided greater choices for buyers. However, overall supply remains tight, homes are selling fast, and price growth in many markets continues to teeter at or near double-digit appreciation. Without solid gains in new home construction, prices will likely stay elevated — even with higher mortgage rates above 4 percent.”

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Today, Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell indicated the possibility of an interest rate hike as early as September, and another increase by December as the jobs market strengthens further. He believes that the dollar and oil prices gave stabilized. He estimated a 2% economic growth this year.

Meanwhile, Greece has 48 hours to reach a financial aid agreement with its international creditors. Yesterday, the Eurozone finance ministers welcomed the new proposals submitted by the Greek government, and they are hopeful to reach a deal. French President Francois Hollande said they were doing everything they can to keep Greece in the Eurozone.

Commenting on the market trends, Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management told Bloomberg, “There are quite a few cross-currents. You’ve still got Greece in the background. There are a lot of people wondering if the S&P 500 can establish a record high and build more strength to the upside. That’s lurking more immediately, and that’s the thing most at work today.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 18,143.94 (+0.13%)
  • S&P 500- 2,124.24 (+0.07%)
  • NASDAQ- 5,160.09 (+0.12%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,295.24 (+0.22%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,625.97 (+0.83%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,834.87 (+0.13%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 11,542.54 (+0.72%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 20,809.42 (+1.87%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 27,333.46 (+0.93%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 4,786.09 (+3.21%)

Stocks in Focus

ADT Corp declined almost 5% to $35.11 per share. Analysts at Off Wall Street Consulting Group reaffirmed their “Strong Sell” rating on the stock with a price target of $25 per share.

The stock value of Actua Corp surged 15% to $15.15 per share driven by an insider buying activity. The company’s president Douglas Alexander acquired 10,000 shares of Actua on Thursday. Its director Thomas Gerrity also purchased 10,000 shares on Friday based on regulatory filings with the SEC.

The stock price of Tesla Motors gained more than 3% to $267.67 per share. In a note to investors, Jefferson Research said the electric car manufacturer’s earnings quality remains “strongest” even if the amount of its cash flow supporting profit may be weak.

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