- FHFA House Price Index – Home prices rebounded 0.8% in December after easing 0.1% in November. Excluding some monthly volatility, the trend has been upward, with prices rising on a quarterly basis for ten quarterly in a row.
- S&P Case-Shiller HPI – Home price appreciation was solid in December but a bit slower than prior months. Case-Shiller’s 20-city index for the month rose an adjusted 0.8%, down from gains of 0.9% and 1.1% in the prior two months.
- Consumer Confidence – There’s more strength than meets the eye in February’s Consumer Confidence report. A 1.3 point dip in the composite index to a lower-than-expected 78.1 masks solid improvement in the consumer’s assessment of the present situation.
- New Home Sales – New home sales surged 9.6% in January to 468,000 for the strongest annual rate since July 2008. The rate is far beyond the high-end Econoday estimate of 428,000.
- Jobless Claims – Jobless claims are not pointing to any improvement in the labor market with initial claims up 14,000. The four-week average is unchanged at 338,250.
- GDP – Real GDP growth for the fourth quarter was revised down sharply to an annualized 2.4% from the advance estimate of 3.2%.
- Consumer Sentiment – Consumer sentiment has held steady through this winter’s heavy weather. The composite index for February is 81.6, little changed from the 81.2 readings for mid-month February and final January.
- Pending Home Sales – For the first time since May, the pending home sales index shows a growth of 0.1%.
According to the Primary Mortgage Market Survey released by Freddie Mac, average mortgage rates continued to rise for the fourth consecutive week.
30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 4.37% with an average 0.7 point for the week ending February 27, 2014, up from last week when they averaged 4.33%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.51%.
15-year FRMs this week averaged 3.39% with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when they averaged 3.35%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.76%.
5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 3.05% this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when they averaged 3.08%. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.61%.
1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 2.52% this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when they averaged 2.57%. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.64%.
Investors closed out a strong albeit short month for stocks with another record high. The S&P 500 set a new closing high of just under 1,860. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended below its highs of the day, while the NASDAQ closed slightly down. For the week, all three indexes posted gains, capping a strong month.
The Week Ahead
Thursday, March 6
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, March 7
Employment Situation (8:30 a.m. ET) – The employment situation is a set of market indicators based on two separate surveys.
Consumer Credit (3 p.m. ET) – Changes in consumer credit indicate the state of consumer finances and foreshadow future spending patterns.
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