Stocks close the week with big gains – Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s September meeting released this week made investors feel that the Fed’s first rate rise since 2006 will not happen this year. The notes revealed that The Fed is worried about unusually low inflation, spill over from slowing in China, and unusually low wage growth. They also said that the economy was still growing. The September jobs report showed job growth around 140,000 jobs a month for the last 2 months, after averaging 212,000 new jobs monthly for the first 7 months of the year. That slowdown also caused investors to expect that The Fed will not raise rates in the next couple of months as previously expected. Higher interest rates mean higher borrowing costs which cut into corporate profits, so continued low rates were seen as positive by investors. Oil prices also rose this week on fears of Russia’s involvement in Syria. Low oil prices have hurt the energy sector, so energy stocks rose on higher oil prices. The dollar which has been strong this year and has caused U.S. goods to be more expensive overseas and overseas goods to be less expensive here in the U.S. also weakened this week. This was helpful as exports have suffered as a result of the strong dollar and slowing economies overseas. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 17,084.49, up from last week’s close of 16,472.37. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,014.89, up from last Friday’s close of 1,951.36. The NASDAQ closed the week at 4,830.47, up from last week’s close of 4,707.78.
Treasury bonds rise from last week’s lows – The 10 year Treasury bond yield closed week at 2.12%, up from 1.99% last Friday. The 30 year treasury bond yield closed Friday at 2.94%, up from last week’s close of 2.82%. Bond yields follow stocks as money moves. Often when investors sell stocks on fears in the stock market they buy bonds which are safe but offer a low return. This week they bought stocks and sold bonds which drove bond yields higher.
Mortgage rates rise from last week’s lows of the year – The 30 year fixed rates are around 3..875% for loans up to $417,000, and around 4.00% for loans over $417,000. The 15 year fixed rate loans are about 3.20% for loans up to $417,000, higher loan amounts have rates that are around 3.375%. 5-Year-ARM and 3–Year ARM rates are both around 3.00%.
September sales data will be released later in the month. It will be interesting to see how prices and sales numbers are holding up. Stay tuned!
Have a great weekend!
This week marked more good economic news. Real Estate related news began Tuesday when NAR reported March resale number of homes under contract rose 7% from March 2012. Case-Shiller, by far the most conservative on real estate, reported a year over year price increase for LA of 14.1% in their 20 major city report for February. I dont really know what this means as they don’t state median (half are more, half are less), or average price. Its some formula they have for most homes and neighborhoods. Keep in mind the median was up 24% during that period! Based on what I am seeing 14% is low!
Stocks soared today after a much stronger than expected jobs report. The economy added 165,000 nonfarm payroll jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 7.5%, a 4 year low. The DOW and S&P are on track to end the week up almost 2% and the NASDEQ up 3.3%. Finally, this is starting to shape up as what a recovery looks like! Stocks also were up with the S&P500 ending the month of April at a record high. The major markets finished April with the DOW up 13.3, NASDEQ up 10.2% and S&P up 12% for the year. This run up has been a result of higher than expected earnings, dropping unemployment, robust home sales, rising home prices, dramatically fewer foreclosures, and rising consumer confidence.
As the economy improves, demand for loans increases, and interest rates rise. Rising rates, in turn, drive down the price of bonds. The yield hit 1.75% today as investors jumped into stocks and out of bonds. Minutes from the Federal Reserve meeting last month indicated that policymakers seemed headed to winding down their bond purchasing before a weak March jobs report took them by surprise. They will continue purchases of Treasury’s and agency mortgage backed securities until the outlook for the labor market has improved. If the outlook for labor market conditions improve as anticipated, the Fed will then decrease purchases of massive bond buying in the year and stop them by year-end. If the Fed does in fact try to pull-out and exit the $85 billion bond buying program because the program has either been deemed a success or has become ineffective, it is possible the Fed will face many unintended consequences.
The latest GDP report confirmed that the housing sector has become an important contributor to the economic recovery. Residential fixed investment added to overall economic growth over the past eight consecutive quarters and contributed more than 0.3 percentage points in growth over the first three months of this year. Moreover, near record low mortgage rates should further drive the housing market recovery over the near term.
This week rates are falling for all types of mortgages, and the average 15-year fixed loan has hit an all-time low of 2.56%, for a second straight week, dropping from 2.61%, both better than the previous low mark of 2.63% set in November. A year ago the 15-year rate stood at 3.07%. The 30-year fixed has now dropped for a fifth straight week to 3.35%, from 3.40% a week ago. After rising as high as 3.63% in March, the rate is again homing in on the 3.31% all-time low seen last November. A year ago the same rate averaged 3.84%.
The five-year ARM sank to 2.56% with an average 0.5 point. It was down from 2.58% a week ago. The one-year ARM dropped to 2.56% with an average 0.3 point. It was down from 2.62% a week ago. This week marked the first time in history the 15-year fixed, five-year ARM and one-year ARM all averaged the same percentage. This week mortgage applications showed a slight uptick and the refinance share of mortgage activity remained unchanged, accounting for 75% of total applications.
Have a great weekend! (AND, open 2-5 every Sunday until its sold is 9007 Larke Ellen in Beverlywood. See http://www.9007LarkeEllen.com for all information and photos)