>> Market UpdateQUOTE OF THE WEEK... "Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else."--J. M. Barrie, Scottish author and dramatistINFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE... Mr. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, might call today's housing market another Neverland, since month to month we never quite know what to expect. Following a weather-driven deep dive in February, Housing Starts gained 2.0% in March, reaching a 926,000 annual rate, with single-family starts up a solid 4.4%. In the Northeast, starts rebounded to the fastest monthly growth rate on record, and in the Midwest, they jumped 31.3%. In addition, the total number of homes under construction was up 0.6% for the month and up 16.5% over last year. Naysayers of course harped on the fact starts are still down 2.5% versus a year ago. It was disappointing to see that Building Permits dropped 5.7% in March, although they stayed above the 1 million unit annual rate. Plus, single-family permits were up 2.1% for the month and are up 4.1% versus a year ago. Optimism prevails, as the National Association of Home Builders confidence index moved up to 56 in April. The latest economic forecast from a major investment bank says their "model points to strong growth of consumer spending and homebuilding...fueled by the recent pick-ups in disposable income growth and household formation." Finally, the Fed's Beige Book reported residential real estate activity as steady to improving across most of their 12 Districts.BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK... To overcome the feeling that a big goal cannot be reached, break it down into separate, measurable steps you know you can readily achieve. >> Review of Last WeekSCARED OF THE WORLD... "Scared" might be a bit strong, but investors were clearly on edge last Friday, thanks to two global concerns. The first came after the China Regulatory Commission said they'd ban margin financing for certain trades, and allow more stocks to be shorted. The goal was to put the brakes on China's soaring stock markets, not a good message to investors. This was followed by renewed concerns over Greece's ability to pay its debt. These Sino-Euro fears were enough to send the Dow and S&P 500 to their worst one-day declines in more than three weeks and left all three market indexes down for the week. But the U.S. economic news wasn't that bad at all.Retail Sales were up 0.9% in March and are up 1.3% over a year ago. The Philadelphia Fed Index showed factory sentiment up in April, which balanced a declining New York Empire Manufacturing Index. Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims edged up, but the 4-week moving average stayed under 300,000 for the sixth week in a row. Even better, Continuing Unemployment Claims dropped to 2.27 million, their lowest weekly level in 15 years! Friday, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Core CPI showed inflation up a tad but under control. Michigan Consumer Sentiment rose to its second highest reading since before the recession, while the Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) index went up 0.2%.The week ended with the Dow down 1.3%, to 17826; the S&P 500 was down 1.0%, to 2081; while the Nasdaq slipped 1.3 %, to 4932.With investors retreating from stocks on Friday, more money came into bonds, boosting prices. The 30YR FNMA 4.0% bond we watch finished the week UP .04, to $106.30. For the week ending April 16, Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey reported national average fixed mortgage rates were largely unchanged. Rates now hover near their 2015 lows. Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up to the minute information. DID YOU KNOW?... Every one cent drop in gasoline prices saves Americans about $3.7 million a day. Economists say consumers now spend $296 million less per day on gas than they did six months ago, which should help boost the economy in other areas. >> This Week’s Forecast EXISTING HOME SALES UP, NEW HOMES OFF, DURABLE GOODS RECOVER... Forget housing starts, forget pending sales, this week gives us a look at actual home sales in March. A nice gain is predicted for Existing Home Sales, putting them back over the 5 million unit annual rate. New Home Sales, on the other hand, are forecast to slip, remaining way below the level they need to be for a full housing recovery. Meanwhile, Durable Goods Orders, down in February, should be up in March.>> The Week’s Economic Indicator CalendarWeaker than expected economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and rising loan rates. Economic Calendar for the Week of Apr 20 – Apr 24 DateTime (ET)ReleaseForConsensusPriorImpactWApr 2210:00Existing Home SalesMar5.07M4.88MModerateWApr 2210:30Crude Inventories4/18NA1.249MModerateThApr 2308:30Initial Unemployment Claims4/18288K294KModerateThApr 23 08:30Continuing Unemployment Claims4/112.380M2.268MModerateThApr 2308:30New Home SalesMar517K539KModerateThApr 2308:30Durable Goods OrdersMar0.5%–1.4%Moderate >> Federal Reserve Watch Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months... This week, even fewer economists see the Fed beginning to hike rates during the first half of the year. Problem is, the economic recovery is still slow. Note: In the lower chart, a 4% probability of change is a 96% certainty the rate will stay the same.Current Fed Funds Rate: 0%–0.25%After FOMC meeting on:Consensus Apr 290%–0.25%Jun 170%–0.25%Jul 290%–0.25%Probability of change from current policy:After FOMC meeting on:Consensus Apr 29 0%Jun 17 4%Jul 29 12%
Author:Ralph and Karen Chiodo Phone: 610-517-4117 Dated: April 20th 2015 Views: 411 About Ralph and Karen: THE CHIODO TEAM - Ralph Chiodo Broker / Owner 610-792-4800 x 111
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