Headline News from Last Week
- Retail Sales – After rebounding 0.7% in February, March Retail Sales jumped 1.1%. Much of the latest advance came from motor vehicles, which increased 3.1%.
- Consumer Price Index – Consumer price inflation warmed up a bit in March, topping expectations at the headline and core levels. Headline inflation rose 0.2%.
- Housing Market Index – For a third consecutive month, the Housing Market Index was lower than expected, falling below the breakeven point of 50 once again (47).
- Housing Starts – While Housing Starts picked up in March, it wasn’t as much as expected. Overall starts rose 2.8% after a 1.9% increase in February.
- Jobless Claims – Unemployment claims signaled very solid improvement in the jobs market. Initial claims came in at 304,000, just under Econoday’s estimate.
According to the Primary Mortgage Market Survey released by Freddie Mac, average mortgage rates decreased for the second consecutive week.
30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 4.27% with an average 0.7 point for the week ending April 17, 2014, down from last week when they averaged 4.34%. A year ago at this time, 30-year FRMs averaged 3.41%.
15-year FRMs averaged 3.33% with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when they averaged 3.38%. A year ago at this time, 15-year FRMs averaged 2.64%.
5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 3.03% with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when they averaged 3.09%. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.60%.
1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 2.44% with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when they averaged 2.41%. At this time last year, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.63%.
The market was closed Friday in observance of Good Friday. For the week, the S&P 500 rose two points (0.1%), while the NASDAQ also jumped nine points (0.2%). The Dow Jones Industrial Average, however, fell 16 points (0.1%).
The Week Ahead
Tuesday, April 22
FHFA House Price Index (9:00 a.m. ET) – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI) covers single-family housing, using data provided by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The House Price Index is derived from transactions involving conforming conventional mortgages purchased or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
Existing Home Sales (10:00 a.m. ET) – Existing Home Sales tallies the number of previously-constructed homes, condominiums and co-ops in which a sale closed during the month. Existing homes (also known as home resales) account for a larger share of the market than new homes and indicate housing market trends.
Wednesday, April 23
New Home Sales (10:00 a.m. ET) – New home sales measure the number of newly-constructed homes with a committed sale during the month.
Thursday, April 24
Jobless Claims (8:30 a.m. ET) – New unemployment claims are compiled weekly to show the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time.
Friday, April 25
Consumer Sentiment (9:55 a.m. ET) – The University of Michigan’s Consumer Survey Center questions 500 households each month on their financial conditions and attitudes about the economy. Consumer sentiment is directly related to the strength of consumer spending.
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