Talk about spin!


Pending home sales posted a fractional gain of 0.2 percent in November, a weaker-than-expected result but one that nevertheless ends 5 straight months of declines going all the way back to June. The year-on-year rate, at minus 1.6 percent, is weak but at least steady.

The two strongest regions are mixed with the South up 2.3 percent in the month but the Midwest down 3.1 percent. The two weakest regions are also mixed with the West up 1.8 percent but the Northeast down 2.7 percent.

Final sales of existing homes have been one of 2013’s biggest economic disappointments, sliding through the second half of the year as rising mortgage rates, low supply of homes on the market, and high home prices have held down sales. And today’s report doesn’t point to much improvement. Watch for Case-Shiller home price data on tomorrow’s calendar, data that are expected to show continuing gains in what would be another negative indication for sales.

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