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Registered Investment Adviser Caleb Lawrence

The major averages opened higher on generally positive but not overly significant data entering the final hour with modest gains.

Mortgage activity fell 2.6% last week as per the Mortgage Bankers Association or MBA. Purchase apps fell 3.4% while refis slipped 2.9%, 30-year jumbo loan rates continued their upward climb reaching 4.34%.

The Employment Cost Index gained .6% in the 4th quarter of 2017, wages and benefits both advanced .5% for the period. On a year ago basis wages and benefits increased 2.6% more or less matching inflation and marking another year of essentially no real wage gains for your average American.

Pending homes sales advanced .5% in December on gains in the South and West. The Northeast and Midwest both fell for the month.

Vehicle sales increased to 17.8 million units on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis in December as per Wards Auto Sales. This marked a 4th month of sales above 17.5 million on year end strength in light truck sales.

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