S&P Case-Shiller HPI: This 20-city index was up 0.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis in the month of February. Taking out seasonal factors, prices were up 0.5%. Each of the cities showed gains, from Cleveland at 0.4% to San Francisco at 3.3%. The index is up 5.0% since this time last year.
Consumer Confidence: Consumer confidence fell more than 6 points this month to 95.2 because of falling expectations in the job market. The expectations reading is down 8.5 points to 87.5. In the employment subcomponents, fewer people see more jobs opening six months from now and even more see fewer jobs available. The present situation component is also down 2.5 points to 106.8. A higher proportion of the population, 26.4%, say that jobs are hard to get. This is up almost a full percentage point from March.
MBA Mortgage Applications: Applications were down 2.3%, giving back last week’s gains. Purchases remained flat while refinances were down 4.0% as the average 30-year fixed-rate was up 2 basis points to 3.85%.
GDP: GDP only gained 0.2% in the first quarter of 2014. The sluggishness is based in part on bad weather and a strong U.S. dollar which is weakening foreign demand for American products. There was also a decrease in business spending and a slowdown in consumer spending. Meanwhile, prices were down 0.1%.
Pending Home Sales Index: Pending home sales came in at 108.6 in March, up 1.1% from February. Year on year, pending home sales are up in all regions 11.1%.
Jobless Claims: Initial jobless claims fell by 34,000 to 262,000 this week. This represents the lowest level of claims since April 2000. The four-week average is down 1,250 to 283,750. Continuing claims were down 74,000 to 2.253 million. The four-week average fell 18,000 to 2.291 million. Both are around 15-year lows.
Personal Income and Outlays: Incomes remained flat in March while spending increased 0.4%. This is slower spending growth than economists would like as consumer spending accounts for over two thirds of GDP. Spending on services was up 0.2%. Prices were up 0.2% for the month of March. Spending on goods was up 1.0%. Incomes are up 3.8% year on year, while consumer spending is up 3.0%.
ISM Manufacturing Index: The index was flat in April, matching the 51.5 it posted in March. Employment came in at 48.3, down nearly 2 points and indicating a contraction in manufacturing employment. Meanwhile, new orders were up 1.7 points to 53.5. Export orders gained 4.0 points to come in at 51.5. Production came in strong at 56.0.
Consumer Sentiment: The overall number for consumer sentiment was unchanged from its mid-April level of 95.9. Coming in at 107.0, current conditions are up 2.0 points from March. Meanwhile, expectations are at 88.8, up 3.5 points over the same period. These expectations numbers indicate strength in the job market. Both one-year and five-year expectations for inflation are at 2.6%.
Mortgage rates were up this week.
30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 3.68% with an average 0.6 point for the week ending April 30, 2015, up from last week when they averaged 3.65%. A year ago at this time, 30-year FRMs averaged 4.29%.
15-year FRMs this week averaged 2.94% with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when they averaged 2.92%. A year ago at this time, 15-year FRM averaged 3.38%.
5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 2.85% this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when they averaged 2.84%. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.05%.
1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 2.49% this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when they averaged 2.44%. At this time last year, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.45%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up triple digits on Friday as stocks rebounded from a tough week. The gain of 183.54 points put the Dow at 18,024.06, down 0.31% for the week. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 closed at 2,108.29 after picking up 22.78 points. It was down 0.44% this week. The NASDAQ was up 63.97 points, finishing at 5,005.39, a weekly loss of 1.70%.
The Week Ahead
Tuesday, May 5
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.
Wednesday, May 6
MBA Purchase Applications (7:00 a.m. ET) – The purchase applications index measures applications at mortgage lenders. This is a leading indicator for single-family home sales and housing construction.
Thursday, May 7
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. An increasing trend suggests a deteriorating labor market. The four-week moving average of new claims smooths out weekly volatility.
Friday, May 8
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.
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