The Dow held onto yesterday’s gains but just barely so, up 17.60 for the day closing at 17383.84 while the S&P 500 slipped -5.71 to 2012.10, closing again above 2000. NASDAQ dropped a bit more by -15.27 to finish at 4623.64. A continued weakening in the European economy as well as lower oildow up rates low prices has hurt stocks. For the consumer, lower oil prices keep gasoline prices low and leave more money in the bank for other types of spending. Oil companies and the energy sector overall has watched their own valuations as oil prices touched lows not seen in three years.

The manufacturing sector surprised many as October’s numbers were released. According to the Institute for Supply Management, or ISM, the index of factory activity across the country rose closer to the 60 mark at 59, up from 56.6 the previous month. A number above 50 shows expansion in factory orders while anything lower than 50 indicates a contraction.

Mortgage rates were rather calm throughout the trading day, with the prevailing 30 year Fannie coupon up just 1/32. 15 year rates for real estate investors are still in the 3.25% range. 30 year rates are generally available near 3.50%.

Friday’s unemployment report for October will be the most anticipated number for November. Economists are looking for confirmation job creation is here to stay. A number close to 275,000 or above will be bullish for stocks and could lead to a sharp rise in interest rates. So far, the end of QEIII has had little, if any impact and investors instead or looking at actual data to anticipate any Fed action. The most recent Fed statement indicated they would be more inclined to raise interest rates sooner if continued economic progress is seen.