MBA Purchase Applications – Purchase applications rose 3.0% for the week of November 28 after falling 10.0% the week prior. Meanwhile, refinances fell sharply, down 13.0%. This marks a sixth straight week of declines. The week-over-week change puts the composite index down 7.3%.
Jobless Claims – Initial claims fell by 17,000 the week of November 29 to 297,000. However, the spike from the week before is still putting the four-week moving average at 299,000, which is 20,000 above statistics from a month ago. Continuing claims for the week of November 22 rose by 39,000 to 2.362 million. This nudged the four-week average up by 1,000 to 2.355 million.
Employment Situation – Payroll jobs were up 321,000 for October. This significantly beat analyst expectations for 275,000 jobs added. The unemployment rate continues to hold steady at 5.8%. Average hourly earnings were up 0.4% for the month. Average weekly hours worked were also up slightly to 34.6.
International Trade – U.S. trade deficit numbers disappointed, only going down to $43.4 billion in October from $43.6 billion. Analysts had expected the deficit to close to $41 billion. Exports were up 1.8% from October as imports added 0.9%. The petroleum gap was $15.2 billion, up from $14.0 billion in September. Petroleum imports for down 0.6% to go along with an 11.1% drop in exports.
Rates were down for both fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages this week.
30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 3.89% with an average 0.5 point for the week ending December 4, 2014, down from last week when they averaged 3.97%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRMs averaged 4.46%.
15-year FRMs this week averaged 3.10% with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when they averaged 3.17%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRMs averaged 3.47%.
5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 2.94% this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when they averaged 3.01%. A year ago, the 5-year ARMs averaged 2.99%.
1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 2.41% this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when they averaged 2.44%. At this time last year, the 1-year ARMs averaged 2.59%.
On the heels of a positive employment situation report, the Dow gained 58.69 points, or 0.3%, on Friday to close at 17,958.79. The S&P 500 was up 3.45 points, or 0.2% to close at 2,075.37 points. This marked to the seventh straight week of gains for the two exchanges. Despite gaining 11.32 points Friday, the NASDAQ closed down 0.2% for the week, finishing at 4,780.56.
The Week Ahead
Wednesday, December 10
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, December 11
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 smooth out weekly volatility.
Retail Sales (8:30 a.m. ET) – Retail sales measure the total receipts at stores that sell merchandise and related services to final consumers. Sales are by retail and food services stores. Data is collected from the Monthly Retail Trade Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census.
Producer Price Index (PPI) (8:30 a.m. ET) – The Producer Price Index measures the average change over time in the prices received by domestic producers of goods and services.
Consumer Sentiment (9:55 a.m. ET) – The University of Michigan’s Consumer Survey Center questions 500 households each month on their financial conditions and attitudes about the economy. Consumer sentiment is directly related to the strength of consumer spending.
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