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In honor of Veterans Day this past Saturday, I’d like to take a moment to thank all of our veterans for their service!

I had kind of a quiet weekend prepping things for the holidays. There wasn’t much happening in terms of economic data last week, either. Stocks and political news had to drive most of the action.

Headline News

MBA Mortgage Applications

Overall applications were flat last week. Applications to purchase rose 1.0%, but refinancing applications fell by the same amount.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed conforming mortgage fell four basis points to 4.18%, according to this index.

Jobless Claims

Initial jobless claims were up 10,000 to 239,000 last week. Part of the reasoning for this is that there’s still a backlog of claims being processed in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands following Hurricane Irma. Still, the four-week average declined by 1,250 to 231,250.

Continuing unemployment claims rose by 17,000 to 1.901 million. The four-week moving average dropped 750 to 1.895 million.

Consumer Sentiment

Initial consumer sentiment readings for November fell 2.9 points to 97.8. Despite drops in both current conditions and future expectations, both indexes were at their second-highest level since January.

The current conditions index fell to 113.6 from 116.5. Expectations fell from 90.5 to 87.6. Over the next year, inflation was expected to increase 0.2% to 2.6%. Expectations over the next five years were unmoved at 2.5%.

When it comes to this survey, consumers are concerned with wages and interest rates, although consumers do see wages rising. The rise in wages is countered by an expectation that interest rates will increase over the next year along with inflation increases. Finally, consumers are keeping a wary eye on trends in the job market.

Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates were down slightly across the board last week. Rates are really low right now. If you’re in the market to buy or refinance your home, you should absolutely consider locking your rate if you see one you like.

Last week, the average rate on a 30-year-fixed mortgage fell four basis points to 3.90% for 0.4 points in fees. This is up from 3.57% at the same time last year.

Taking a look at shorter terms, the average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage was 3.24% for 0.5 points, down three basis points from a week ago. It has risen from 2.88% a year ago.

Finally, the average rate on a 5-year treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) was 3.22% for 0.5 points, down one basis point on the week. At this time last year, the average rate was 2.88%.

Stock Market

Some major tech and health care stocks saw slowdowns Friday. Because of this, the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 closed lower, bringing to an end an eight-week and six-week winning streak, respectively.

The Dow was down 0.50% for the week after falling 39.73 points Friday to close at 23,422.21. The S&P 500 was down 2.32 points to close at 2,582.30. This was down 0.21% for the week. Rounding things out, the Nasdaq finished at 6,750.94, up 0.89 points on the day and down 0.20% on the week.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, November 14

Producer Price Index (PPI) (8:30 a.m. ET) – The Producer Price Index measures the average change over time in prices received by domestic producers for the sale of goods and services.

Quicken Loans Home Price Perception Index (HPPI) (10:00 a.m. ET) – Quicken Loans, the nation’s second-largest retail mortgage lender, releases data every month comparing what people think their homes are worth to appraisals. Similar opinions of value often make for smoother purchase and refinance transactions.

Quicken Loans Home Value Index (HVI) (10:00 a.m. ET) – Quicken Loans also releases data on home values, on both the national and regional levels. Homeowners can gain a perception of whether values are increasing or decreasing and get a better idea of where they stand in terms of equity.

Wednesday, November 15

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.

Consumer Price Index (CPI) (8:30 a.m. ET) – The consumer price index measures changes based on the price of a fixed basket of goods and services purchased by consumers.

Retail Sales (8:30 a.m. ET) – Retail sales measure total receipts from stores selling merchandise and related services to final consumers. Sales are measured by retail and food service stores. Data is collected from the Monthly Retail Trade Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Thursday, November 16

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.

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.

Friday, November 17

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.

The lack of activity last week is made up for by a heavy volume of reports with lots of consequential economic data this week. We’ll be keeping an eye on inflation, retail sales and production numbers.

If economic data and mortgage rates aren’t enough to keep you awake, we get it. We have plenty of home, money and lifestyle content to share with you if you subscribe to the Zing Blog below. We’re just a couple of weeks away from Black Friday sales. If you plan on hitting the stores or the net, we’ve got some shopping strategies for you to study up on. Have a great week!

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