German retail sales down more than expected
Retail sales in Germany fell 2.5% month on month in November, according to the national statistics agency, plunging well below the 0.1% dip forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts.
Overall, sales were estimated to have been 3.1% lower in 2023 than in 2022.
However, statistics agency Destatis noted that the pandemic had fueled a run of strong growth, and sales were still 1.6% above their 2019 level.
— Jenni Reid
U.K. house prices rose in 2023, lender Halifax says
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U.K. house prices defied expectations by rising in 2023, according to figures from the country’s biggest mortgage lender Halifax.
Growth was concentrated in the last three months of the year, but saw house prices end 2023 1.7% higher than December 2022.
Analysts had forecast a fall of up to 10% in the market in 2023.
The rise is “likely being driven by a shortage of properties on the market, rather than the strength of buyer demand,” said Kim Kinnaird, director at Halifax Mortgages.
The recent fall in U.K. mortgage rates may help boost buyer confidence in the months ahead, Kinnaird said.
However, Halifax still says house prices could fall between 2% and 4% this year.
— Jenni Reid
Europe stocks to open lower
European stocks are set to open lower Thursday.
IG data sees France’s CAC 40 down 43.8 points at 7,412, Germany’s DAX down 103 points at 16,527, and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 lower by 48 points at 7,682.
— Jenni Reid
CNBC Pro: Look beyond valuation — this fund manager uses a unique strategy for returns that beat inflation
Oil prices fall as U.S. fuel inventory build up overshadows Mideast tensions
Oil prices fell on Thursday as a huge U.S. fuel inventory buildup overshadowed worries about supply disruptions from mounting tensions in the Middle East.
The West Texas Intermediate contract for February lost 51 cents, or .7%, to settle at $72.19 a barrel. The Brent contract for March shed 66 cents, or .84%, to settle at $77.59 a barrel.
U.S. gasoline stocks increased by 10.9 million barrels to 237 million barrels total for the week ending Dec. 29, according to data from the Energy Information Agency. Motor fuel supplied to the market, an indicator of demand, fell by 1.2 million barrels per day to nearly 8 million barrels per day total.
The U.S. inventory build shifted focus away from mounting tensions in the Middle East. Crude prices rose more than 2% on Wednesday as militant attacks disrupt shipping in the Red Sea and a Libyan oilfield was shutdown due to protests.
— Spencer Kimball
CNBC Pro: Ritholtz’s Josh Brown reveals stocks he says are ‘twice as cheap’ as the S&P 500
Josh Brown of Ritholtz Wealth Management has named the stocks he thinks is undervalued compared to the broader U.S. stock market.
These stocks presents an opportunity for investors in 2024, according to Brown, as they are trading at a 34% discount relative to the S&P 500, compared to an average discount of 16% over the past 20 years.
CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.
— Ganesh Rao
ADP report shows stronger than expected job growth in December
Private payroll growth topped estimates for growth in December, according to an ADP report Thursday showing a still-vibrant labor market.
Companies added 164,000 for the month, better than the downwardly revised 101,000 for December and the 130,000 estimate from Dow Jones. Leisure and hospitality led the way with 59,000 new jobs while construction added 24,000. Small businesses were the biggest job creators, as those with fewer than 50 employees added 74,000.
The reports comes a day ahead of the Labor Department’s nonfarm payrolls release, which is expected to show an increase of 170,000.