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After Big Monday, Markets Subdued Tuesday

A day after the Dow soared more than 150 points — raising hopes that an economic recovery is taking root, global markets have been mixed Tuesday, with modest ups and downs after a rash of conflicting economic reports.

In particular, home sales dropped sharply in November, according to data released Tuesday — the first drop in a year. The $8,000 home buyers credit was extended in November, and it looks as though the extension dampened any rush to buy. Another dip in the housing market, as some fear, could seriously imperil any economic recovery.

In more positive news, the Commerce Department reported today that orders to U.S. factories were unexpectedly high in November. The demand was actually double what had been earlier projected and reflected growth in industrial machinery, computers, and chemicals.

And in Detroit, GM reported that December was its best sales month since December 2008.

But how to make sense of these mixed messages? Tonight on the NewsHour, Judy Woodruff sits down with economists Dean Baker and Robert Barbera to try to make sense of what economic indicators are signaling for the year ahead.

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