Market update: Uninsured up, home sales down

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This week in the markets

  • The percentage of Americans without health insurance hit a four-year high.
  • December home sales in the US hit their lowest levels since 2015, which could be an indicator of slowing economic growth.
  • Twitter’s stock fell more than 4% on Wednesday after its CEO Jack Dorsey discussed some controversial topics in recent interviews.
  • US stocks were choppy this week, possibly due to positive corporate earnings reports pulling stocks up, and lingering US-China trade tensions pushing stocks down.

Uninsured Americans hit a four-year high

A survey released on Wednesday by Gallup showed that the percentage of Americans without health insurance hit 13.7% — the highest rate in four years. The data from Gallup suggested the surge may be due to higher premiums to cover the Affordable Care Act (also known as ObamaCare), uncertainty in the health care markets, and the government’s unsuccessful efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The current percentage of Americans without health insurance still falls below the 2014 high of 18%, before ObamaCare was put in place.

December home sales hit weakest level since 2015

This week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that December home sales in the US hit their lowest levels since 2015. The Existing Home Sales Report is published monthly by the NAR and is considered a leading economic indicator by investors, which means it’s an economic factor that is impacted before other aspects of the economy are affected. Thus, December’s weak report could be a sign of slowing economic growth.

Earnings reports and trade tensions drove the markets

The up and down movements of some major US stock indexes were enough to make investors seasick. Many investors were focused on fourth-quarter corporate earnings results, with companies like IBM, Restaurant Brands International Inc., and Procter & Gamble all reporting upbeat earnings. However, lingering worries over global growth and US-China trade tensions prevented the markets from celebrating too much. Standard and Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) was up .14%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) decreased 0.091%, and Nasdaq rose .68% all at Thursday’s close.

Twitter was down 4% after CEO interview

Twitter’s stock price fell 4% at Wednesday’s close after two interviews with CEO Jack Dorsey were published online, in which he discussed the state of the company and its online harassment issues. Dorsey said that users seemed to complain about online harassment but failed to report it, and the online platform depends on reporting. Dorsey also came under scrutiny about a recent trip he made to Myanmar. He made the trip despite recent violence against a minority group in the country which many believe was fueled by online hate — primarily on Facebook. Think before you speak, Jack! ?

And now for your weekly Lionomics wrap-up. ?

Lionomics: Finance made easy

This week in Lionomics, we discussed inflation and how it affects almost everything we purchase, from gas to groceries — even fast food! Check out this week’s lesson to learn how inflation could cause your money to lose purchasing power.

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