Market Update for the Week of May 21, 2018

Info That Hits Us Where We Live

In home building, the overall upward trend remains, as April Housing Starts were 10.5% ahead of a year ago, at a 1.287 million annual rate. Single-family starts were up 0.1% for the month, though overall starts declined 3.7%.

Single-family permits were up 0.9% in April, which bodes well for the future, and the number of single-family units now under construction is at the highest pace since 2008.

First American‘s chief economist also noted an uptrend in housing completions–“a 14.8% increase from the April 2017 figure…a modest step toward producing enough housing to meet market demand.”

Business Tip of the Week

Take breaks. A short walk, a quick bike ride, lunch away from your desk, all can renew your focus and make you more productive, not less.

Review of Last Week

A STUMBLE NOT A TUMBLE… Investors shifted their focus from solid corporate earnings to the less certain macroeconomic environment. Equities stumbled for the week, tripped up by worries over trade talks and rate hikes.

The typical response to risk is caution. So as China and NAFTA trade agreements remained up in the air, no one on Wall Street was wildly bidding up stocks, while the strengthening economy fueled concerns about more rate hikes.

Positive labor market conditions and high consumer confidence drove April’s Retail Sales gain. Additionally, the Leading Economic Index (LEI) of 10 key economic trends headed up for the seventh month in a row.

The week ended with the Dow down 0.5%, to 24715; the S&P down 0.5%, to 2713; and the Nasdaq down 0.7%, to 7354.

Bonds saw some gains Friday, but not enough to erase earlier losses. The 30YR FNMA 4.0% bond ended down .39, at $101.27. The national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate edged up to a level last seen in 2011 in Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up-to-the-minute information.

Did You Know?

A recent survey of mobile app users found that 31% use their financial services app the most, a usage result that only trails weather apps, at 33%, and social media apps, at 55%.

This Week’s Forecast

HOME SALES TAKE A BREATHER, WE EAVESDROP ON THE FED Analysts forecast a slower pace for New Home Sales and Existing Home Sales in April. But new homes sold should stay near 700K, with existing homes comfortably north of 5.5M. FOMC Minutes give us a peek at what was said at the Fed’s last meet. Could be useful. 

The Week’s Economic Indicator Calendar

Weaker than expected economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and rising loan rates.

Economic Calendar for the Week of May 21 – May 25

Date Time (ET) Release For Consensus Prior Impact
May 23
08:30 New Home Sales Apr 677K 694K Moderate
May 23
10:30 Crude Inventories 05/19 NA -1.4M Moderate
May 23
14:00 FOMC Minutes May NA NA HIGH
May 24
08:30 Initial Unemployment Claims 05/19 220K 222K Moderate
May 24
08:30 Continuing Unemployment Claims 05/12 NA 1.707M Moderate
May 24
10:00 Existing Home Sales Apr 5.57M 5.60M Moderate
May 25
08:30 Durable Goods Orders Apr -1.6% 2.6% Moderate
May 25
08:30 Durable Goods Orders-ex transportation Apr 0.6% 0.0% Moderate
May 25
10:00 U. of Michigan Consumer Sentiment May 98.8 98.8 Moderate

Federal Reserve Watch

Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months… Nothing’s changed with the Fed futures market’s expectation of a 0.25% June hike. The rate should hold there until September when there’s a good chance of another small bump. Note: In the lower chart, a 100% probability of change is a 0% certainty the rate will stay the same.

Current Fed Funds Rate: 1.50%-1.75%

After FOMC meeting on: Consensus
Jun 13 1.75%-2.00%
Aug   1 1.75%-2.00%
Sep 26 2.00%-2.25%


Probability of change from current policy:

After FOMC meeting on: Consensus
Jun 13        100%
Aug   1            9%
Sep 26          81%

Statistics source:

Material in this article from: Inside Lending Market Snapshot

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