September new home sales increased by 18.9% in September, well above expectations.  This is another indicator of growing economy.

 

 

 

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Just about any news these days bolsters the US and global equity markets. Over the weekend, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s election victory lifted world stocks and the dollar this morning. His victory assures Japan will continue its quantitative easing, which means a weaker yen and stronger Japanese government bond prices.

 

Trump also saying that the re-appointment of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was still a possibility.

 

The 30 stocks in the DJIA continue to headline, but a more detailed look isn’t as shiny; last week the DJIA increased 1.73%, NASDAQ +23, S&P +22. If not for an increase of 24 points on Friday, the NASDAQ would have been unchanged on the week; S&P on Friday +13 points.

 

Last week, the Senate voted to pass a continuing resolution to add $15 trillion to the debt over 10 years. That cleared the way for tax cuts, but still a lot of discussion about how much and to whom. Democrats are not likely to vote for any plan put together by Republicans, and Republicans in each chamber are not on the same page about most anything. There is almost 100% agreement that a tax cut package should happen, but there isn’t anywhere close to that about who gets what and by how much.

 

On Thursday, the ECB meeting, at which it is widely expected the bank will announce the beginning of reducing its QE. Mario Draghi in his recent speeches and comments has prepared markets for the moves to lessen market support.

 

Doesn’t take much these days to push the indexes higher, especially the DJIA. The broader market taking a breather last week and looking at volumes of trading it has lessened recently. That said, no one appears to be outwardly nervous (not selling) even though remarks and statistics are warning of an extended equity market.

 

One data point this morning: the Chicago Fed National Activity Index, expected -0.10 increased 0.17 (August index -0.37). Not much until Wednesday.

 

The key 10 yr. note yield increased 6 bps Friday as the DJIA ran up 165 points; MBS price -24 bps. Very key technical support now for the 10 at 2.40%, tested three times since last May and has held. If the 10 moves above 2.40% it will add additional technical bearishness in the rate markets and will push mortgage rates higher. Nothing new here; as long as equity markets refuse to pull back there isn’t much to push rates down. Inflation remains subdued; that is helping and keeping rates generally stable recently. Our technical models remain bearish in the wider view, but it is all dependent on stock market trading.

 

Source: TBWS

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In the pre-open trade this morning, the stock indexes were better, the 10-yr. note yield up 1 bps to 2.23% from yesterday’s close. No direct new threats from NK, and investors still driving stock indexes higher. Slightly weaker yesterday but no follow-through today, a pattern that has repeated itself for the last two months in equity markets.

At 10:00 AM EDT two key reports: August new home sales, expected +3.5% to 583K, sales declined 3.5% to 560K units. September consumer confidence from the Conference Board expected at 120.2 fell to 119.8 AND August as revised lower to 120.4 from 122.9 originally released. Both soft, but markets yawned, with no declines in stock indexes. I have a hard time with recent data coming in weaker than forecast, yet investors continue to lay huge bets that equity markets will continue to climb. That said, at the moment it is what it is–and going against the trend is a foolish risk.

Janet Yellen’s speech has been changed from 11:50 am EDT to 12:45 pm.

At 1:00 pm, Treasury will auction $26B of 3 yr. notes, tomorrow $34B of 5s and Thursday $18B of 7s.

NK moving aircraft to the east coast according to South Korea intelligence officials after the US flew B-1 bombers close to the peninsula. Investors appear nonplussed, however; no fear evident in how equity markets are reacting, but still there is money moving into safety in US treasuries. Another current support for the US markets, the dollar is gaining strength against the yen and especially the euro after German elections over the weekend that lessened Merkel’s power. The dollar has been in free-fall since the beginning of the year. A strengthening dollar adds to better returns to foreign investors.

Rates holding well so far in the face of continued buying in the equity markets. NK still a worry point but investors seem to be less concerned with the rhetoric increasing and not expecting more than just words and threats. Two kids on the playground saying, “dare me,” neither wanting to take the dare.

Source: TBWS

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Jobs Report

Sep 1, 2017

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Jobs Report

Jul 7, 2017

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May 1, 2017

The stock market continued to march ever higher, especially early in the week when both the small-cap Russell 2000 and the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite Indexes reached record highs.  In fact, the Nasdaq Composite broke above the 6,000 mark for the first time ever.  Investor sentiment was enhanced in response to the election results in France when pro-European Union globalist Emmanuel Macron received more votes than anti- European Union nationalist Marine Le Pen during the first round of presidential elections.  The two candidates will now square off in a runoff election on May 7.

 

However, other political developments both here and abroad managed to keep investors wary.  President Trump’s proposal for meaningful tax reform, threats to pull out of NAFTA, a revised plan repeal and replace Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act), and escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea over the North Korean’s ballistic missile testing all combined to impact investor sentiment.

 

Bond yields crept higher as talk of potential tax cuts negatively impacted Treasury prices early in the week.  The yield on the 10-year Treasury reached its highest level in over two weeks on Wednesday, before pulling back as investors contemplated the possibility of a potential government shutdown.

 

In housing, the spring home selling season got off to a great beginning as New Home Sales soared to an 8-month high in March.  The Commerce Department reported New Home Sales at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 621,000 for March, easily exceeding the consensus forecast of 590,000.  March sales were the second-strongest since early 2008, and were just slightly lower than last July’s reading of 622,000 while being 15.6% higher than a year ago.  The median home sales price increased 1.2% to $315,000 and is 1.2% higher compared to a year ago while the average sales price increased 5.6% to $388,200.  Inventory continues to slide and at the current rate of sales, it would take just 5.2 months to exhaust available supply.

 

Home prices continue to march steadily higher and this was confirmed by both the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and S&P/Case-Shiller.  The FHFA monthly House Price Index (HPI) for February showed home prices rose 0.8% in February and 6.4% annually in addition to an upward revision in January’s index to 0.2%.  The FHFA monthly HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Because of this, the selection excludes high-end homes bought with jumbo loans or cash sales.  Meanwhile, the S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index soared 5.8% in February, the largest gain in 32 months, when analysts had predicted a 5.7% increase.  This is further evidence strong home buyer demand continues to outweigh supply in the housing market.

 

Furthermore, the National Association of Realtors reported March Pending Home Sales, based upon contract signings, retreated 0.8% to 111.4 from 112.3 in February.  This slight loss in sales momentum was due to the scarcity of available inventory.  Despite the decrease in March, the index is 0.8% above a year ago and was the third best reading in the past year.

 

In the realm of mortgages, mortgage application volume increased slightly during the week ending April 21.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported their overall seasonally adjusted Market Composite Index (application volume) rose 2.7%.  The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 1.0% from the prior week, while the Refinance Index increased 7.0%.  Overall, the refinance portion of mortgage activity increased to 44.0% total applications from 42.4% from the prior week.  The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity increased to 8.7% of total applications.  According to the MBA, the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with a conforming loan balance decreased to 4.20% from 4.22%, its lowest level since November 2016, with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.35.

 

For the week, the FNMA 3.5% coupon bond dropped 7.8 basis points to close at $102.797 while the 10-year Treasury yield increased 4.29 basis points to end at 2.289%.  Stocks ended the week higher.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 392.75 points to end at 20,940.51.  The NASDAQ Composite Index advanced 137.09 points to close at 6,047.61 and the S&P 500 Index added 35.51 points to close at 2,384.20.  Year to date, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 5.96%, the NASDAQ Composite Index has advanced 12.34%, and the S&P 500 Index has risen 6.49%.

 

This past week, the national average 30-year mortgage rate rose to 4.09% from 4.05%; the 15-year mortgage rate increased to 3.34% from 3.29%; the 5/1 ARM mortgage rate increased to 3.08% from 3.04%; and the FHA 30-year rate increased to 3.80% from 3.75%.  Jumbo 30-year rates rose from 4.32% to 4.35%.

 

Economic Calendar – for the Week of May 1, 2017

 

Economic reports having the greatest potential impact on the financial markets are highlighted in bold.

 

Date Time

ET

Event /Report /Statistic For Market Expects Prior
May 01 08:30 Personal Income Mar 0.3% 0.4%
May 01 08:30 Personal Spending Mar 0.1% 0.1%
May 01 08:30 PCE Prices Mar NA 0.1%
May 01 08:30 Core PCE Prices Mar 0.0% 0.2%
May 01 10:00 Construction Spending Mar 0.4% 0.8%
May 01 10:00 ISM Index Apr 56.5 57.2
May 03 07:00 MBA Mortgage Applications Index 04/29 NA +2.7%
May 03 08:15 ADP Employment Change Apr 170,000 263,000
May 03 10:00 ISM Services Index Apr 55.8 55.2
May 03 10:30 Crude Oil Inventories 04/29 NA -3.64mln
May 03 14:00 FOMC Rate Decision May 0.875 0.875
May 04 07:30 Challenger Job Cuts Apr NA -2.0%
May 04 08:30 Balance of Trade Mar -$44.4B -$43.6B
May 04 08:30 Initial Jobless Claims 04/29 246,000 257,000
May 04 08:30 Continuing Jobless Claims 04/22 NA 1,988K
May 04 08:30 Preliminary Productivity Qtr. 1 0.1% 1.3
May 04 08:30 Unit Labor Costs Qtr. 1 2.6% 1.7%
May 04 10:00 Factory Orders Mar 0.4% 1.0%
May 05 08:30 Nonfarm Payrolls Apr 180,000 98,000
May 05 08:30 Nonfarm Private Payrolls Apr 175,000 89,000
May 05 08:30 Unemployment Rate Apr 4.6% 4.5%
May 05 08:30 Average Hourly Earnings Apr 0.3% 0.2%
May 05 08:30 Average Workweek Apr 34.4 34.3
May 05 15:00 Consumer Credit Mar $16.0B $15.2B

 

Mortgage Rate Forecast with Chart – FNMA 30-Year 3.5% Coupon Bond

 

The FNMA 30-year 3.5% coupon bond ($102.80, -7.8 bp) traded within a narrower 47 basis point range between a weekly intraday high of $102.86 on Friday and a weekly intraday low of $102.39 on Wednesday before closing the week at $102.80.  Mortgage bonds initially traded down to test support at the 25-day moving average early in the week before bouncing higher for a test of nearest resistance at the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement level ($102.806).  This bounce higher in the later portion of the week resulted in a positive stochastic crossover buy signal.  If the bond manages to break above resistance during this coming week that features numerous potential market-moving economic reports, we could see higher prices and lower yields resulting in a slight improvement in rates.

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ADP Employment Report

Nov 3, 2016

adp-info11-2-2016

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The stock and bond markets both struggled this past week.  Stocks fell for the second consecutive week as some encouraging domestic economic news was offset by a China Trade Balance report showing a 10% drop in exports and a 2% decline in imports during September.  This report renewed investor worries of a possible slowdown in global growth.  Also, the third quarter corporate earnings season got off to a disappointing start when Alcoa reported lower than expected revenue and profits in addition to softer earnings guidance.

 

Favorable economic news included continued strength in the job market with Weekly Jobless Claims falling to 246,000, a decline of 9,000 below the consensus forecast of 255,000 claims.  The underlying trend remains consistent with healthy labor market conditions as claims have now been below the 300,000 level for 84 consecutive weeks.  The four-week moving average of claims fell by 3,500 to 249,250 claims last week.  Furthermore, the Commerce Department reported Retail Sales were robust in September, rebounding from disappointing sales in August.  Retail Sales increased 0.6% in September while Retail Sales excluding autos increased 0.5%.  Both readings matched their respective consensus forecasts.  The Retail Sales numbers eased investor concerns over the current status of discretionary spending and its potential impact on 3rd quarter GDP.

 

The Wednesday release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s September FOMC meeting triggered some bond market volatility with the yield of the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rising to 1.80%, its highest level in four months.

 

The minutes showed “Several members judged that it would be appropriate to increase the target range for the federal funds rate relatively soon if economic developments unfolded about as the committee expected.  It was noted that a reasonable argument could be made either for an increase at this meeting or for waiting for some additional information on the labor market and inflation.”  Among the participants who supported awaiting further evidence of continued progress toward the committee’s objectives, several stated that the decision at this meeting was a “close call.”  Based on the current prices of fed funds futures, the market is now pricing in a 64.3% chance of a rate increase by the Fed’s December 14 FOMC meeting.  The bond market was also hit with some selling pressure on Friday when Fed Chair Janet Yellen remarked in a speech that she was comfortable with the Fed “overshooting” their inflation target.

 

In housing, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released their latest Mortgage Application Data for the week ending October 7th showing the overall seasonally adjusted Market Composite Index decreased 6.0%.  The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index fell 3.0% from the prior week, while the Refinance Index decreased 8.0%.  Overall, the refinance portion of mortgage activity decreased to 62.4% of total applications from 63.8% in the prior week.  The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity decreased to 4.1% of total applications.  According to the MBA, the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with a conforming loan balance increased from 3.62% to 3.68% with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.32.

 

For the week, the FNMA 3.0% coupon bond lost 54.7 basis points to end at $102.98 while the 10-year Treasury yield increased 6.9 basis points to end at 1.8048%.  Stocks ended the week lower with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 102.11 points to end at 18,138.38.  The NASDAQ Composite Index dropped 78.25 points to close at 5,214.16, and the S&P 500 Index lost 20.76 points to close at 2,132.98.  Year to date, and exclusive of any dividends, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 3.93%, the NASDAQ Composite Index has added 3.97%, and the S&P 500 Index has advanced 4.17%.

 

This past week, the national average 30-year mortgage rate increased to 3.58% from 3.53% while the 15-year mortgage rate increased to 2.89% from 2.85%.  The 5/1 ARM mortgage rate rose to 2.91% from 2.90%.  FHA 30-year rates increased to 3.40% from 3.35% and Jumbo 30-year rates increased to 3.73% from 3.68%.

 

Economic Calendar – for the Week of October 17, 2016

 

Economic reports having the greatest potential impact on the financial markets are highlighted in bold.

 

Date Time

ET

Event /Report /Statistic For Market Expects Prior
Oct 17 08:30 New York Empire State Manufacturing Index Oct 2.0 -2.0
Oct 17 09:15 Industrial Production Sept 0.2% -0.4%
Oct 17 09:15 Capacity Utilization Sept 75.6% 75.5%
Oct 18 04:00 Net Long-Term TIC Flows Aug 0.3% $103.9B
Oct 18 08:30 Consumer Price Index (CPI) Sept 0.2% 0.2%
Oct 18 08:30 Core CPI Sept 59.0 0.3%
Oct 18 10:00 NAHB Housing Market Index Oct NA 65
Oct 19 07:00 MBA Mortgage Index 10/15 NA NA
Oct 19 08:30 Housing Starts Sept 1,168K 1,142K
Oct 19 08:30 Building Permits Sept 1,164K 1,139K
Oct 19 10:30 Crude Oil Inventories 10/15 NA 4.900M
Oct 19 14:00 Fed’s Beige Book Oct NA NA
Oct 20 08:30 Initial Jobless Claims 10/15 249,000 246,000
Oct 20 08:30 Continuing Jobless Claims 10/08 NA 2,046K
Oct 20 08:30 Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index Oct 5.5 12.8
Oct 20 10:00 Existing Home Sales Sept 5.30 5.33M

 

Mortgage Rate Forecast with Chart

 

For the week, the FNMA 30-year 3.0% coupon bond ($102.98, -54.7 basis points) traded within a  53 basis point range between a weekly intraday high of $103.47 on Tuesday and a weekly intraday low of $102.94 on Friday before closing the week at $102.98.  The potential breakout pointed out in last week’s newsletter took place this week, and unfortunately it was a downward rather than an upward breakout despite the stock market losing ground.  The bond appears to be settling into a new trading range between technical resistance at its 23.6% Fibonacci retracement level and support at the 200-day moving average at $102.73.  A continuing move toward support this coming week will result in slightly higher mortgage rates.

 

Chart:  FNMA 30-Year 3.0% Coupon Bond

chart110172016

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