The Dow finished up today again but barely. After Friday’s gains, that makes two in a row in positive territory. But as traders watched the moves on the boards, there appeared to be no general direction with swings both ways. The S&P 500 also moved briefly higher rising 3.13 points to close at 2022.55 Home Prices Increasewhile the Dow inched up 3.66 points to close at 17515.23.

This week’s economic basket should provide very little, if any, clear indicators on the economy with housing starts and existing home sales being the only two of the very few reports that might have some sort of impact. Beyond Wall Street however, the emphasis is on global markets and one of the main drivers in the FNMA 3.5 bond rally.

The price of oil is taking a major toll on Russia but Russia has no choice but to sell as much crude as possible to support the ruble. There are rumors that Mideast suppliers could see oil falling as low as $25 per bbl due to the strength, or lack thereof, in foreign markets.  According to a story today on CNBC, China’s GDP grew at its slowest pace in 24 years last year, up 7.4 percent from 2013, this after an interest rate cut by China last November. . Weakness across Asia continues to keep funds from making many bets on equities in any market. The Japanese economy has officially been in a recession since October. Across Europe, the ECB is crafting yet another quantitative easing program.

Real estate investors here in the United States however have fared much better as home prices continue to show gains while rents increase as well. According to Case-Shiller’s most recent home price index, home prices increased in November by 5.5 percent compared to November of 2013. These home values have been on a steady increase for 21 straight months, with most major markets still reporting healthy housing markets.