1. Hertz rental car jumps 10% after "poison pill"
Hertz Global Holdings (NYSE: HTZ ) is unleashing the poison pill, making it difficult for a single shareholder to amass a large chunk of ownership. The gold car rental company announced a one-year "rights" plan whereby if any single shareholder buys more than 10% of the shares out there, the number of shares can double, diluting the menace shareholder's value.
"Cocky" is the word of the day. That's because, according to The Conference Board's monthly survey of consumer sentiment, Americans' confidence in the state of the economy popped in December from 72 to 78.1 on the research firm's scale -- that's the best year-end reading for the consumer confidence report since '07.
Why all the smiles? Good econ data in the final quarter of 2013. Home prices have risen and sales have increased. Manufacturing activity, which makes up 12% of the U.S. economy, has grown for cars and construction materials. And most of all, the 203,000 new jobs added in November slammed economists' expectations, and the unemployment rate dropped to a five-year low of 7%. That's why consumers are popping bottles into 2014.
3. Home prices hit seven-year high (again)
According to the mother of all housing market reports, U.S. home prices rose at the fastest rates since 2006 (the pinnacle of that devastating housing bubble) for the second straight month. The S&P Case-Shiller home price index tracks prices for single-family residences in 20 metropolitan areas, reporting Tuesday that prices popped 13.6% in October from a year earlier.
However, although the housing market has battled back strong in 2013 (home prices in all 20 cities surveyed are up from last year, and sales increased, too), the S&P Case-Shiller report also showed that the high-flyin' prices are slowing down a tad. The pace of the price increases in 18 cities dipped slightly from August to September and then from September to October.
- ISM Manufacturing Index
- Weekly jobless claims