This is a very light week on the economic docket. We have international trade and jobless claims leading the way. When there’s a lack of data, the day-to-day movements in the stock market take on more importance. Let’s get right into it.
International Trade: The U.S. trade deficit increased to $47.1 billion in February, a $1.2 billion increase from where it was to open the year. Imports rose 1.3% to $225.1 billion. There was an uptick in the demand for consumer goods as well as imported services. This increase was partially offset by a 1.0% increase in demand for exports to $178.1 billion. Unfortunately, demand for capital goods has softened, which points to weakness in global business investments in infrastructure. The petroleum gap closed a bit as crude oil averaged $27.48 per barrel, down about $5 from January.
MBA Mortgage Applications: Mortgage applications were up 2.7% overall as refinances increased 7.0% following an eight basis point drop in the average rate for a 30-year conforming loan to 3.86%. This made up for the fact that purchases were down 2.0%.
Jobless Claims: Initial claims were down 9,000 to 267,000. The four-week average is up 3,500 to 266,750. In a slight downside, continuing claims were up 19,000 to 2.191 million. That said, the four-week average is down just slightly to 2.189 million.
Data released by Freddie Mac shows that mortgage rates are at 2016 lows.
30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 3.59% with an average 0.5 point for the week ending April 7, 2016, down from last week when they averaged 3.71%. A year ago at this time, 30-year FRMs averaged 3.66%.
15-year FRMs this week averaged 2.88% with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when they averaged 2.98%. A year ago at this time, 15-year FRMs averaged 2.93%.
5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 2.82% this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when they averaged 2.90%. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.83%
Stocks were up Friday, but they failed to maintain session highs. Stocks had their worst week since February.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.21% for the week despite being up 35 points on Friday to close at 17,576.96. The S&P 500 was up 5.69 points to finish the week at 2,047.60. This couldn’t prevent a 1.26% loss for the week. Meanwhile, the NASDAQ was up just 2.32 points on the day to finish at 4,850.69. This was a 1.30% loss on the week.
The Week Ahead
Tuesday, April 12
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 that compares what people think their homes are worth with the opinions of appraisers. Closer homeowner perceptions 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, both on the national and regional level. 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, April 13
MBA Mortgage Applications (7:00 a.m. ET) – The mortgage applications index measures applications at mortgage lenders. This is a leading indicator for single-family home sales and housing construction.
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 of goods and services.
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 measured by retail and food services stores. Data is collected from the Monthly Retail Trade Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Thursday, April 14
Consumer Price Index (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.
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, April 15
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.
Consumer Sentiment (10:00 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.
Next week looks pretty busy. We’ll have it all for you right here. If economic reports aren’t your cup of tea, we have lots of great info for your home, money and life. Subscribe to the Zing Blog below to get the latest articles delivered to your inbox twice a week. Make it a great Monday!
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