Last Week:

Headline News

  • JOLTS – There were 3.990 million job openings on the last business day of December, down slightly from November’s 4.033 million.
  • Jobless Claims – Initial jobless claims continued to look flat, up 8,000 to a higher-than-expected 339,000. The four-week average is up 3,500, a level that is little changed from the month-ago trend.
  • Retail Sales – Overall retail sales in January fell 0.4%, following a decrease of 0.1% in December.
  • Consumer Sentiment – February’s weather has been weighing on the consumer – but not that much. The composite index is at a higher-than-expected 81.2 for the mid-February reading, unchanged from the final January reading.
  • The market is closed today in observance of Presidents Day.

Mortgage Rates

According to the Primary Mortgage Market Survey released by Freddie Mac, average mortgage rates remained largely unchanged following a week of light economic reports.

30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) averaged 4.28% with an average 0.7 point for the week ending February 13, 2014, up from last week when they averaged 4.23%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.53%.

15-year FRM this week averaged 3.33% with an average 0.7 point, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.77%.

5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) 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 2.64%.

1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.55% this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when they averaged 2.51%. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.61%.

Equity Markets

Valentine’s Day was a good one for stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 127 points Friday, while the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ also increased. The S&P 500 and the Dow gained more than 2% for the week. The NASDAQ added nearly 3% for the week.

The Week Ahead

Wednesday, February 19

Housing Starts (8:30 a.m. ET) – A housing start is registered at the start of construction of a new building intended primarily as a residential building. The start of construction is defined as the beginning of excavation of the foundation for the building.

FOMC Minutes (2 p.m. ET) – Since the Fed moved up the release of the minutes to three weeks after a meeting from six in January 2005, the minutes have become a market mover as analysts parse each word looking for clues about policy. However, the minutes do include the complete economic analysis compiled by Fed officials and whether or not any FOMC members have voiced opinions at odds with the rest of the group.

Thursday, February 20

Consumer Price Index (8:30 a.m. ET) – The Consumer Price Index is a measure of the change in the average price level of a fixed basket of goods and services purchased by consumers.

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, February 21

Existing Home Sales (10 a.m. ET) – Existing home sales tally the number of previously constructed homes, condominiums and co-ops in which a sale closed during the month.

Visit the Quicken Loans Zing Blog for updated information on important economic releases that affect your wallet.


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