North American equity markets are higher helped by West Texas Intermediate crude oil (+1.5%) which has gained as producers in the Middle East were informing customers of upcoming supply cuts as part of the OPEC agreement that starts in January. Gold (+0.2%) steadied but held near a 10-1/2 month low as the U.S. dollar continues to drift higher.
U.S. Housing Starts slumped by 18.7%, last month tumbling from a nine-year high as construction activity declined. There are only two major events left before Christmas, Yellen’s speech on Monday, December 19th at 1:30pm and the Bank of Japan’s rate decision on Tuesday morning December 20th. Bond prices are giving up earlier gains with the German 10-year at 0.333%, the U.S. 10-year at 2.61% and the Canadian 10-year at 1.85%.