Headline News from Last Week
- FHFA House Price Index – The housing market continued to improve in terms of home prices appreciating further. According to the FHFA, home prices increased 0.6% in February.
- Existing Home Sales – Sales of existing homes have yet to recover from the Federal Reserve’s decision to begin withdrawing stimulus. For the seventh time in eight months, sales of existing homes contracted (-0.2%).
- New Home Sales – New Home Sales fell very sharply in March, dropping 14.5% to a 384,000 annual rate.
- Jobless Claims – The big improvement in initial jobless claims was brief. The latest data showed an increase of 24,000 to a total of 329,000 last week.
- Consumer Sentiment – The signal for April from the Consumer Sentiment report was very strong, with the composite index at 84.1. The latest reading is tied for the third best of the recovery, only 1.0 point off from the recovery high of 85.1 in July last year.
According to the Primary Mortgage Market Survey released by Freddie Mac, average fixed mortgage rates increased slightly amid a week of soft housing data.
30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 4.33% with an average 0.6 point for the week ending April 24, 2014, up from last week when they averaged 4.27%. A year ago at this time, 30-year FRMs averaged 3.40%.
15-year FRMs averaged 3.39% with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when they averaged 3.33%. A year ago at this time, 15-year FRMs averaged 2.61%.
5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 3.03% with an average 0.5 point, unchanged from last week. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.58%.
1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 2.44% this week with an average 0.5 point, unchanged from last week. At this time last year, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.62%.
It was a tough week for stocks. The NASDAQ dropped 1.75%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased 140 points. The S&P 500 dropped too, marking the eighth straight week that it’s alternated between weekly gains and losses.
The Week Ahead
Monday, April 28
Pending Home Sales (10:00 a.m. ET) – The National Association of REALTORS developed the pending home sales index as a leading indicator of housing activity. Specifically, it is a leading indicator of existing home sales, not new home sales.
Tuesday, April 29
S&P Case-Shiller HPI (9:00 a.m. ET) – The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index tracks monthly changes in the value of residential real estate in 20 metropolitan regions across the U.S.
Consumer Confidence (10:00 a.m. ET) – The Consumer Confidence Index is based on consumers’ perceptions of current business and employment conditions, as well as their expectations for six months regarding business conditions, employment and income.
Wednesday, April 29
FOMC Meeting Announcement (2:00 p.m. ET) – The FOMC announcement is expected to leave policy rates unchanged and taper on schedule with another $10 billion reduction in bond purchases.
Thursday, May 1
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, May 2
Employment Situation (8:30 a.m. ET) – The employment situation is a set of market indicators based on two separate surveys.
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