Sales of previously owned homes reached a three year high in November. This reinforced the estimates made that the housing industry would contribute to the nation’s annual economic growth significantly for the first time since 2006.

Purchases of existing houses went up 5.9 percent to a 5.04 million annual rate. This was the most since November 2009 according to the National Association of Realtors. The average forecast of 82 economists polled by Bloomberg saw a 4.9 million rate.

The increase in real estate values helps improve consumer confidence, which reached an eight month high last week. This is according to the Bloomberg consumer Comfort Index. But another report showed the economic outlook weakened in November due to the concerns about the looming federal spending cuts and tax increases.

Stocks went up as House Speaker John Boehner said he wants to continue working on a budget plan with President Barack Obama. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 0.6 percent to 1,443.69 as the session closed in New York.

In Europe, UK retail sales stagnated in November as spending at department stores fell the most in two years. Sales including fuel remained unchanged from October, when sales dropped 0.7 percent, according to the Office for National Statistics in London.

The Bank of Japan expanded its asset purchase program for the third time in four months. It said that it will reconsider its objectives for inflation as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants more action to curb drops in prices.

The US economy gained at a 3.1 percent annual rate in the third quarter compared to the initial estimate of 2.7 percent advance. The report showed the gain in state and local government spending in three years, smaller trade gap, and more consumer purchases.

The index of leading indicators dropped in November, which indicated a slowdown in early 2013. The Conference Board’s index of the outlook for the next three to six months fell 0.2 percent after a revised 0.3 percent gain in October.

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