FOX Business: Capitalism Lives Here

The blue-chip average tilted just slightly higher in lighter-than-usual volume Monday as traders eyed disappointing housing data.

Today's Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) climbed 7.8 points, or 0.05%, to 16073, the S&P 500 (GSPC) declined 2.3 points, or 0.13%, to 1802 and the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) rose 2.9 points, or 0.07%, to 3995. 

2013 has been the year of records for Wall Street. The Dow broke 15000 and 16000 this year, and continues climbing deep into uncharted territory. The blue-chip index has surged close to 23%, while the broader S&P 500 has tacked on nearly 27%. 

At the same time, the Nasdaq crossed the 4000 threshold for the first time in more than 13 years Monday, although it failed to close above that level. Still, the tech-heavy index has a long way to go before retracing its March 2000 high of of 5049.

“Investors talk about the market climbing a wall of worry. That wall seems to have gotten a little bit shorter recently,” said Joel Huffman, senior portfolio manager at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

On the economic front, the National Association of Realtors said signed contracts to buy previously-owned homes fell 0.6% in October, missing economists’ expectations the number of signed contracts would rise 1.3%. The gauge is seen as a forward-looking indicator that predicts existing home sales. 

"The softness in pending sales in recent months has likely been due in part to the jump in mortgage rates that first occurred back in May," Cooper Howes, an economist at Barclays wrote in a note to clients, "but this effect has been diminishing and we look for pending home sales to gradually resume their previous upward trend given the subsequent easing in financial conditions."

A nuclear deal between Iran and world powers put pressure on oil prices that are seen as particularly sensitive to geopolitical news. The benchmark U.S. contract slid 75 cents, or 0.79%, to $94.09 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline fell 1.7% to $2.681 a gallon. 

"While the deal with Iran will certainly be the topic of the day and we’re seeing the expected market response in oil, the week’s performance for stocks and bonds will still be determined by the US economic data and how the markets think the Fed will eventually respond," Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, wrote in an email to clients.

In metals, gold dropped $3.00, or 0.24%, to $1,242 a troy ounce. 

Elsewhere, Wal-Mart (WMT) said long-time company executive Doug McMillon will replace CEO Mike Duke, who plans to retire on Feb. 1. BlackBerry (BBRY)  unveiled a slew of changes to its c-suite Monday as freshly-minted CEO John Chen looks to turn the smartphone maker around.

 J.C. Penney (JCP) will be booted from the S&P 500 and replaced with Allegion. Fiat said a 2013 IPO for its Chrysler unit will not be feasible this year. The Italian automotive heavyweight is now looking toward early 2014 for Chrysler to make its public debut. 

Qualcomm (QCOM) revealed a Chinese regulator is probing the chipmaker over anti-monopoly concerns

Follow Adam Samson on Twitter @adamsamson.