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Market Update February 23
>> Market UpdateQUOTE OF THE WEEK... "Fortune favors the audacious." --Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch scholar and social criticINFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE... Some might consider it audacious to say all is well on the homebuilding front following last week's reports. Housing Starts dipped 2.0% in January, to a 1.065 million annual rate, with a 6.7% reduction in single-family starts. Equally disturbing, Building Permits were off 0.7%, to a 1.053 million annual rate. But in the last twelve months, single-family starts are up 16.3%, and permits up 5.8%. The 12-month moving average for overall housing starts (single- and multi-family) is at its highest level since 2008. And total number of homes under construction was up 1.1% in January and up 17.5% over a year ago.In line with this, the National Association of Home Builders confidence index slipped this month from 57 to 55. But it stayed above 50, meaning more builders felt conditions are good. Freddie Mac's U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for February upped its mortgage originations forecast to $1.3 trillion. They pegged home sales at 5.6 million, starts at 1.18 million, and home prices up 3.9% for the year. The new CEO at Move Inc., which runs realtor.com, feels "...improved employment, rising GDP, easing mortgage restrictions and growth in housing starts are just a few of the trends creating meaningful tailwind for the market."BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK... Don't be overwhelmed when you have lots of different tasks to do. Instead, departmentalize your week: perform different tasks on different days. This is an efficient way to organize your workflow. >> Review of Last WeekIT'S ALL GREEK TO WALL STREET... The holiday-shortened week featured three lackluster days of stock trading, one day up a bit, two down a bit, but Friday, good news from Greece ignited a 155-point rally in the Dow. That took it to a record high for the first time this year. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also nailed weekly gains for the third week in a row. The upswing came after the anti-austerity Greek government got eurozone ministers to agree to a four-month bailout extension in exchange for, guess what, a list of austerity reforms to be submitted today. This is good news for the sluggish European economy, whose recovery remains vital to ours.Economic news on the home front stayed mixed. Headline numbers for January Housing Starts and Building Permits both disappointed. Industrial Production rose less than expected and New York Empire Manufacturing dropped, but factory capacity was higher than its average level of the last 20 years. Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims fell by 21,000, in line with a trend that's been pretty much flat since September. The 4-week average was down for the fourth week in a row, falling by 6,500, to 283,250, its lowest level since November. Continuing Unemployment Claims increased by 58,000, but that 4-week average fell 10,000, to a 2.398 million level.The week ended with the Dow UP 0.7%, to 18140; the S&P 500 UP 0.6%, to 2110; and the Nasdaq UP 1.3%, to 4956.As stocks rallied Friday on news of the Greek agreement, bonds gave back the gains they had made when things were uncertain. The 30YR FNMA 4.0% bond we watch finished the week down .06, to $106.18. National average fixed mortgage rates inched up for the second consecutive week in Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending February 19. But rates still remain near mid-2013 lows. Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up to the minute information. DID YOU KNOW?... The realtor.com housing inventory data report for January pegged the median list price at $211,000, up 8.8% year over year. >> This Week’s Forecast HOME SALES MIXED, INFLATION MILD, GDP MEDIOCRE... This week's housing data is expected to be all over the map: Existing Home Sales and New Home Sales for January off a tad, but Pending Home Sales up after a down month. This index of contracts signed on existing homes points to higher sales for that segment in a couple of months. Inflation remains tame, as lower oil prices bring the Consumer Price Index (CPI) down, and even when you take out energy and food prices, Core CPI is predicted to only go up a blip. Economic growth remains placid, as the GDP-2nd Estimate for Q4 should dip to a weaker reading.>> 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 Feb 23 – Feb 27 DateTime (ET)ReleaseForConsensusPriorImpactMFeb 2310:00Existing Home SalesJan4.95M5.04MModerateTuFeb 2410:00Consumer ConfidenceFeb99.3102.9ModerateWFeb 2510:00New Home SalesJan471K481KModerateWFeb 2510:30Crude Inventories2/21NA-7.716MModerateThFeb 2608:30Initial Unemployment Claims2/21290K283KModerateThFeb 2608:30Continuing Unemployment Claims2/142.400M2.425MModerateThFeb 2608:30Consumer Price Index (CPI)Jan-0.6%%-0.4%HIGHThFeb 2608:30Core CPIJan0.1%0.0%HIGHThFeb 2608:30Durable Goods OrdersJan1.8%-3.3%ModerateFFeb 2708:30GDP–2nd EstimateQ42.1%2.6%ModerateFFeb 2708:30GDP Chain Deflator–2nd EstimateQ40.0%0.0%ModerateFFeb 2709:45Chicago PMIFeb58.059.4HIGHFFeb 2710:00U. of Michigan Consumer Sentiment–FinalFeb93.893.6ModerateFFeb 2710:00Pending Home SalesJan2.2%-3.7%Moderate >> Federal Reserve Watch Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months... The FOMC Minutes released last week revealed that although the central bankers believe the economy continues to progress, they remain "patient" about raising the Fed Funds Rate. Fewer economists now think anything will happen the first half of the year. Note: In the lower chart, a 2% probability of change is a 98% certainty the rate will stay the same.Current Fed Funds Rate: 0%–0.25%After FOMC meeting on:Consensus Mar 180%–0.25%Apr 290%–0.25%Jun 170%–0.25%Probability of change from current policy:After FOMC meeting on:Consensus Mar 18 0%Apr 29 2%Jun 17 15%
THE CHIODO TEAM - Ralph Chiodo Broker / Owner 610-792-4800 x 111 Karen Chiodo Realtor / Owner 610-792-4800 x 102 Together Ralph and Karen (and their dedicated Tea....