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Registered Investment Adviser Caleb Lawrence 

After opening lower, the major averages recovered their early losses to enter the final hour about even. The Mortgage Bankers Association reports that mortgage activity jumped 8.3% last week. Refi activity snapped a string of declines with an 11.4% gain, purchase apps advanced 5%, the 30-year contract rate for a Jumbo Loan increased slightly to 4.16%.

Import prices continued to climb in December up .1% led by higher energy costs. Export prices snapped a string of gains with a .1% decline. On a year ago basis price gains moderated somewhat with exports up 2.6% and imports up 3%. This is one of the few series to show consistent price gains above the Fed’s desired 2% target.

Wholesale inventories jumped .8% in November reversing last month’s decline and then some on a large increase in non-durable goods. Sales advanced 1.5% for the month a 4th solid gain.

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