Stock volatility, growth continues
U.S. stocks advanced while the dollar fell and Treasuries rose as financial markets looked ahead to Wednesday’s inflation report.
The S&P 500 index climbed for a third day, it’s longest winning streak since mid-January, amid a rally in financial shares and food retailers. Assets seen as safe havens gained as last week’s surge in volatility continued to weigh on traders. The dollar’s three-day loss left it at the lowest in more than a week.
Volatility levels remained elevated. Consumer-price data due Wednesday could give some clues on where markets are heading, given that pressure on equities has been emanating from the outlook for inflation.
Hedge funds and other large speculators have boosted bets on Treasury futures to a record, indicating they expect the 2018 bond-market rout will resume in the days ahead.
Chipotle CEO hire from Taco Bell
Chipotle has named an executive from fast-food chain Taco Bell as its next CEO.
Brian Niccol, chief executive at Yum Brands Inc.’s Taco Bell chain, will be tasked with helping turn around the burrito chain, which has long positioned itself as a step up from fast food.
Chipotle has been trying to win back customers to its restaurants since 2015, when its sales plunged after an E. coli outbreak. Earlier this month, the chain said a key sales figure rose in the fourth quarter, but mostly because it raised menu prices and paid less for avocados. Fewer customers came to its restaurants during the quarter, the company said.
Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. soared 12 percent in extended trading Tuesday.
U.S. home prices reach new highs
Home prices jumped to all-time highs in almost two-thirds of U.S. cities in the fourth quarter as buyers battled for a record-low supply of listings.
Prices for single-family homes, which climbed 5.3 percent from a year earlier nationally, reached a peak in 64 percent of metropolitan areas measured, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. Of the 177 regions in the group’s survey, 15 percent had double-digit price growth, up from 11 percent in the third quarter.
Sales of previously owned homes, including single-family houses and condos, increased 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.62 million in the fourth quarter. At the end of December, only 1.48 million existing homes were available for sale, 10.3 percent less than a year earlier.
The most expensive markets were San Jose, California, followed by San Francisco, the Irvine, California, area, Honolulu and San Diego.