Economic Update for the 4th Week of April

Ray Dipasupil
Ray Dipasupil
Published on April 30, 2018
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U.S. home sales and prices higher in March – The National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales increased 1.1% in March from February levels, but were down 1.2% year over year from last March’s sales numbers. Existing home sales include all 1-4 unit single family homes, condominiums, town-homes, and coops. The median price rose on a year over year basis for the 73rd straight month, increasing 5.8% from one year ago. The unsold inventory level was at a 3.6 month supply of homes for sale, down from a 3.8 month supply one year ago. Inventory levels have fallen year over year for 34 straight months.

Stocks lower in turbulent week – It was another wild week for stocks. The Dow dropped 425 points on Tuesday after Amazon reported record profits, but gave guidance that they expected future profits to decrease due to tariffs. The 10 year treasury bond yield rose above 3% for the first time in 4 years, which also hurt the market. On Thursday The Dow gained 238 points as more companies beat profit expectations, and bond yields dropped slightly. A lower than expected first quarter GDP reading on Friday left investors with mixed feelings. Some felt that the economy may be slowing, while others hoped that the slower growth number will keep the Federal Reserve from increasing interest rates at a faster pace. Higher rates were also a drag on the markets this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 24,311.19, down from last week’s close of 24,462.91.  It is down 1.7% year to date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,669.91, almost unchanged from 2,670.14 last week.  It’s down 0.1% year to date. The NASDAQ closed at 7,119.80, down from 7,146.13 last week. It is up 3.1% year to date.

TreasuryBond yields higher this week – The 10 year treasury bond closed the week yielding 3.00% up from 2.96% last week.The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 3.18%, up from 3.14% last week.

Mortgage Rates higher this week – The April 26, 2018 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30 year fixed mortgage rate average was 4.58%, up from last week’s 4.47%. The 15 year fixed was 4.02%, up from 3.94% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.74%, up from 3.67% last week. Rates were lower at the end of the week, so next week’s rates should be slightly lower. 

 
First reading of the first quarter Gross Domestic Product weaker – The Commerce Department reported that their first reading of the first quarter GDP grew at just a 2.3% annualized rate. The economy was dragged down by sluggish consumer spending which grew by just 1.1% for the first quarter of 2018. That was the slowest pace since the second quarter of 2013. Economists expect growth to pick up in the second quarter.
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Economic Update for the 4th Week of April
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