- International Trade – The trade gap worsened more than expected in September. The September trade deficit came in at $41.8 billion versus 38.7 billion in August. Exports slipped 0.2% after no change in August.
- Jobless Claims – From prior levels that were inflated by counting problems in California and the government shutdown, jobless claims continue to edge lower, but not by much. Initial claims fell, but only slightly in the November 9 week to a 329,000 level.
- Industrial Production – Overall, industrial production slipped 0.1% after jumping 0.7% in September.
According to the Census Bureau, U.S. homeownership rose from its lowest level since 1995. The share of Americans who own their homes was 65.3% in the third quarter, up from 65% in the previous three months.
Janet Yellen, who is expected to take over for Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve, answered questions about the financial crisis and banking regulation Thursday at a Senate hearing. She indicated she will carry on the central bank’s stimulus until there is improvement in an economy that is operating below potential.
Normalization in rates, home prices and credit performance is expected to continue in 2014. Experts predict rates will likely rise, while home price growth and credit performance improvement will likely slow.
According to the weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates increased for the second straight week.
30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.35% with an average 0.7 point for the week ending November 14, 2013, up from last week when it averaged 4.16%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.34%.
15-year FRM this week averaged 3.35% with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.27%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.65%.
5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.01% this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.96%. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.74%.
1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.61% this week with an average 0.4 point, unchanged from last week. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.55%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all posted gains of more than 1% for the week. The Dow closed in on 16,000, while the S&P 500 finished a few points shy of 1,800. The Nasdaq was close to 4,000, a level not reached since September 2000.
The Week Ahead:
Wednesday, November 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.
- Retail Sales (8:30 a.m. ET) – Retail sales measure the total receipts at stores that sell merchandise and related services to final consumers.
- 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.
- FOMC Minutes (2 p.m. ET) – The Federal Open Market Committee issues minutes of its meetings with a lag. The minutes of the previous meeting are reported three weeks after the meeting
Thursday, November 21:
- 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.
- Producer Price Index (8:30 a.m. ET) – The Producer Price Index (PPI) of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a family of indexes that measure the average change over time in the prices received by domestic producers of goods and services.
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