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By: Peter O'Dowd on 02/01/2013
The U.S. stock market had a banner month in January, and it reached another milestone at Friday’s closing bell. Analysts say the surging housing market had something to do with it.
New home construction is heating up across the Valley. (Photo by Al Macias - KJZZ)
PETER O’DOWD: The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S & P 500 haven’t had such strong performances in January since the 1990s. Then on Friday, the Dow hit another mark when it closed above 14-thousand for the first time in about six years. Brent McQuiston is a senior advisor with Wealth-Trust Arizona. He says consumer confidence stabilized after Congress found a temporary fix to the debate over the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling.
BRENT MCQUISTON: That put a little bit of a floor in the market and gave it a little spring at least for the next few months it looks like.
O’DOWD: Analysts also say the housing market helped boost financial markets. Late last week, Scottsdale-based Meritage Homes said orders for new homes went up 41 percent in 2012, compared to the year before. Brent Anderson is a Meritage VP for Investor relations.
BRENT ANDERSON: ‘12 was a lot stronger year than most of our peer home builders would have expected coming into the year -- certainly stronger than we expected coming into the year.
O’DOWD: Meritage is positioned for expansion. The company says it invested $480 million last year in land and development. That includes the acquisition of 9,000 new lots. Anderson expects 20 percent growth in 2013. But that could change:
ANDERSON: Purchasing a home is a confident move. Anything that impacts buyer confidence can certainly impact home sales.
O’DOWD: Analysts say there is bound to be more uncertainty in the nation’s economy in the next few months as lawmakers grapple again with decisions about debt and spending.