I don’t know about you, but it’s 2017 and I’m feeling pretty good about it. Let’s hope the economy starts the year as good as I feel right now. There wasn’t much going on in terms of data last week, but let’s jump into what there was.
S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller HPI: Prices were up 0.6% on a seasonally adjusted basis in October across the 20-city survey. This is up 0.1% overall and 5.1% on the year. Some of the strongest growth was in Cleveland, where prices were up 1.3% and Washington, D.C., where they rose 0.9%. The West continues to lead the way in terms of home values, up 10.7% on the year. Portland and Denver follow at 10.3% and 8.3%, respectively.
Consumer Confidence: Consumer confidence was up 6.5 points in December to come in at 113.7. This is up 12.9 points since the election in November and the highest level the index has reached since August 2001. It’s not all good news. Current conditions fell from 132.0 to 126.1. The number of people saying jobs are hard to get rose 1.3% to 22.5%. The source of the rise is in expectations, which are up 11.1 points to come in at 113.7. More people seem more jobs ahead, with this metric up 4.9%. Consumers also expect incomes to rise. These expectations were up 3.6 points to 21.0%. However, there is a big drop in one-year inflation expectations, down 0.3% to 4.5%.
Pending Home Sales Index: Homes under contract were down 2.5% to 107.3 in November. Analysts say that this may have something to do with the increase in mortgage rates. There were decreases in three of the nation’s four regions, particularly in the West.
International Trade in Goods: The nation’s trade deficit in goods increased by $3.4 billion to $65.3 billion in November. Exports were down 1.0%, while imports climbed 1.2%. Both vehicle and capital goods exports were down quite a bit. On the imports side, industrial supply shipments jumped as did imports of food.
Jobless Claims: Initial claims last week were down 10,000 to 265,000. The four-week average fell 750 to 263,000. It’s worth noting that this may not be as accurate as usual because 10 states had to be estimated due to the holidays. Continuing claims were 63,000 higher to 2.102 million. The four-week average of continuing claims was up 4,500 to 2.042 million.
Mortgage rates held pretty steady last week, rising just slightly. Keep in mind that we’re in a cycle where they only seem to be going up. If you’re looking to buy or refinance, lock in that rate.
Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 4.32% with an average 0.5 point for the week ending December 29, 2016, up from last week when they averaged 4.30%. A year ago at this time, 30-year FRMs averaged 4.01%.
Fifteen-year FRMs this week averaged 3.55% with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when they averaged 3.52%. A year ago at this time, 15-year FRMs averaged 3.24%.
Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 3.30% this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when they averaged 3.32%. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.08%.
Things get a little crazy toward the end of the year in the market for both stocks and bonds. Traders are looking to meet year-end targets and because of this, they often behave in ways they wouldn’t normally. As a result, stocks saw three consecutive days of losses for the first time since Nov. 4.
Still, it was a good year for stocks overall. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 13.4% in 2016. The NASDAQ and S&P 500 rose 7.5% and 9.5% on the year.
In the final trading session of the year, the Dow was down 57.18 points to finish at 19,762.60. This was a fall of 0.86% on the week. The S&P fell to 2,238.83, down 10.43 points on the day and 1.10% on the week. The NASDAQ finished the week down 1.46%, dropping 48.97 points Friday to finish at 5,383.12.
The Week Ahead
Tuesday, January 3
ISM Manufacturing Index (10:00 a.m.) – This index measures the general direction of manufacturing within the U.S. The qualitative survey of purchasing managers looks at production, new orders, order backlogs, inventories and supplier deliveries, among other factors.
Wednesday, January 4
MBA Mortgage Applications (7:00 a.m. ET) – The mortgage applications index measures applications to mortgage lenders. This is a leading indicator for single-family home sales and housing construction.
Thursday, January 5
Jobless Claims (8:30 a.m. ET) – New unemployment claims are compiled weekly to show the number of individuals filing for unemployment insurance for the first time. An increasing trend suggests a deteriorating labor market. The four-week moving average of new claims smooths out weekly volatility.
Friday, January 6
Employment Situation (8:30 a.m. ET) – The employment situation report measures unemployment in the labor force as well as the sentiments of workers about the job market.
International Trade (8:30 a.m. ET) – International trade is composed of merchandise (tangible goods) and services. It’s available by export, import and trade balance for six principal end-use commodity categories and for more than 100 principal Standard International Trade Classification system commodity groupings.
That looks like a light week, but we do get some manufacturing data and the always important monthly jobs numbers. If all this mortgage and economics talk sounds too terribly boring, we’ve got plenty of home, money and lifestyle content to share with you if you subscribe to the Zing Blog below.
Here’s hoping you and yours have a really terrific 2017. Good luck with those resolutions. I know I’ve got a novel to write. Enjoy the adventure!
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