As a sports fan in Detroit, it was kind of a scary weekend. Michigan and Michigan State both made their games way closer than they needed to be, and the Lions definitely didn’t have their best performance. However, things are getting spooky around the NFL as well. I’d hate to be a Packers fan with the injury to quarterback Aaron Rodgers yesterday.
Some of the market data to come out last week showed scary weakness, but it wasn’t enough to give the stock market the creeps. Let’s open that creaking door and dive into the house of (sometimes) bizarre economic data.
Quicken Loans Home Price Perception Index (HPPI)
Home appraisals are coming closer to homeowner estimates recently, and that trend continued in September, with the difference between these and appraiser opinions being just 1.14%. This was an improvement of 0.21% from last month.
In terms of regional data, homeowners in the West overestimated by just 0.93%. Homeowners in the South and Northeast overvalued their properties by just 1.14% and 1.21%, respectively. Estimates of Midwestern homeowners were off by 1.31%.
Dallas has the nation’s most undervalued housing market, with appraiser opinions coming in 2.87% higher than homeowner estimates. Philadelphia homeowners were at the other end of the spectrum, with estimates being 2.89% higher than actual appraisal values. Homeowners and appraisers were closest to agreement in Riverside, California. Residents underestimated value by just 0.03%.
Quicken Loans Home Value Index (HVI)
Home values were up 0.44% in September and have risen 3.38% since the same time last year. However, the data is a little uneven.
Values were down 1.33% in the South, but they’ve still risen 2.08% on the year. It’s possible the monthly drop has something to do with hurricane season. We’ll have to keep an eye on this. The South is the nation’s largest housing region in terms of new construction.
In the West, values were up 0.98%, rising 5.77% yearly. Northeastern homeowners saw values rise 0.91% for a 2.71% annual increase. The Midwest saw values rise 0.66%, up 5.64% on the year.
MBA Mortgage Applications
Mortgage applications fell 2.1% overall. Purchase applications were down 0.1%, but rates had a bigger impact on applications to refinance, which fell 4.0%. The average rate on a 30-year fixed conforming mortgage was up four basis points to 4.16%.
After being higher for several weeks in the aftermath of several hurricanes, initial jobless claims appear to be coming back to normal levels. They were down 15,000 last week to 243,000. With that said, claims in Puerto Rico are still very low, and analysts are assuming this is because displaced workers are having trouble filing claims due to power outages. Numbers in Virginia and South Carolina were also estimated.
Meanwhile, the four-week average of continuing claims was down 9,500 to come in at 257,500.
On the continuing claims side, these were down 32,000 to 1.889 million. The four-week average of continuing claims was down 12,000 to 1.925 million.
Producer Price Index (PPI)
The hurricanes caused increases in energy prices in September. Along with an uptick in services inflation, they were key in having prices increase 0.4% for producers in September, in line with analysts’ expectations. Production prices are up 2.6% on the year. However, when food and energy prices were taken out, prices rose 0.4% as well and are up 2.2%. When further removing trade services, production prices were up 0.2% and 2.1% annually.
Taking a deeper look at the numbers, energy prices were up 3.4% following Harvey and Irma. Food prices are unchanged. Trade services also increased 0.8%.
Consumer Price Index (CPI)
Consumer prices are where the Federal Reserve needs to decide whether they’re haunted enough to be put off another hike in short-term interest rates before the end of the year. That’s because inflation came in weaker than expected on the consumer side of the coin, up just 0.5% and 2.2% on the year in September. Consensus expectations had been for a 0.6% increase. When food and energy were taken out, prices were up 0.1% and 1.7% on the year, a little below targets.
While that may not sound like a big miss, with a 6.1% rise in energy prices related to hurricane season, analysts expected dire numbers. It shows that inflation is soft in other areas of the economy. Housing costs were up only 0.2%, and the cost of medical care was actually down 0.1%. The cost of prescriptions in particular was down 0.6%. Apparel prices were also down 0.1%.
Food prices were up 0.1%. Those that follow the wireless cell phone industry might feel like they’ve entered the Twilight Zone. After falling steadily for most of the year, prices were actually up 0.4%.
Retail sales did bounce back from a 0.2% dip last month. They’re up 1.6% overall in September and have risen 1.0% when auto sales are taken out. When cars and gas were both removed, they’re up 0.5%. It’s worth noting that expectations had been for a 1.8% overall increase.
Restaurant sales were up 0.8% to come back strong. The hurricanes may have been the cause of an increase in grocery store sales, which rose 1%. Building materials were also up 2.1%. Finally, gasoline sales rose 5.8%.
Consumer sentiment spiked six points to 101.1 in preliminary October readings. It’s the highest reading in 13 years. The economy is at or near full employment, and there are indications that wages are moving up.
The expectations component is up almost 7 points to 91.3. Part of this optimism is low inflation expectations. Over the next year, consumers expect inflation to rise just 2.3%, and over the next five years, expectations fell to 2.4%. This is a bit of a problem for the Federal Reserve because without the expectation of inflation rising, consumers have less motivation to buy things now and spur the economy. The current conditions index was up nearly five points to 116.4.
Fixed mortgage rates were up quite a bit for the second straight week. If you’re in the market, though, there’s still very low. It’s a great time to lock your rate.
The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was up six basis points to 3.91% for 0.5 points in fees. Last year at this time, the rate was 3.47%.
In shorter terms, the average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage was up six basis points to 3.21% for 0.5 points. This is up from 2.76% a year ago.
Finally, the average rate on a 5-year treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) fell two basis points to 3.16% for 0.4 points. This is up from 2.82% at this time last year.
Investors spent Friday betting that companies would have another strong earnings season in line with recent friends. This meant the Nasdaq hit record highs again Friday.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 30.71 points on the day to close at 22,871.72. This was up 0.43% on the week. The S&P 500 was up 0.15% on the week to close at 2,553.17. It was up 2.24 points on the day. Finally, the Nasdaq closed at 6,605.80 after being up 14.29 points on the day and 0.24% on the week.
The Week Ahead
Tuesday, October 17
Industrial Production (9:15 a.m. ET) – The Federal Reserve’s monthly index of industrial production – and the related capacity indexes and capacity utilization rates – covers manufacturing, mining, and electric and gas utilities.
Housing Market Index (10:00 a.m. ET) – The National Association of Home Builders produces a housing market index based on a survey where respondents from the organization are asked to rate the general economy and housing market conditions. The index is a weighted average of separate diffusion indexes, including present sales of new homes, sales of new homes expected in the next six months and traffic of prospective buyers in new homes.
Wednesday, October 18
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.
Housing Starts (8:30 a.m. ET) – A housing start is registered when the construction of a new residential building begins. The start of construction is defined as the beginning of excavation of the foundation for the building.
Thursday, October 19
Jobless Claims (8:30 a.m. ET) – New unemployment claims are compiled weekly to report 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, October 20
Existing Home Sales (10:00 a.m. ET) – Existing Home Sales tallies the number of previously constructed homes, condominiums and co-ops in which a sale closed during the month. Existing homes (also known as home resales) account for a larger share of the market than new homes and indicate housing market trends.
There’s not much in the way of larger economic data outside of industrial production next week, but we do get lots of housing data. Meanwhile, plenty of companies do have earnings reports next week. We’ll have it covered in Market Update.
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