QUOTE OF THE WEEK… “Every path hath a puddle.”–George Herbert, Welsh-British poet, orator, and priest
INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE… Last week, the path to recovery in the housing market required us to step over the puddle of a 3% dip in Housing Starts for November. Yet that path has also taken us to an annual rate of 861,000 units, putting overall starts UP 21.6% versus a year ago, and single family starts UP 22.8%. New Building Permits were UP 3.6% in November, so no puddles in that path where single-family permits are UP 25.3% over a year ago. No wonder the NAHB homebuilder confidenceindex gained for the eighth month in a row.
Data over on the existing home front was even rosier. Existing Home Sales went UP 5.9% in November, crossing the 5 million unit threshold, at 5.04 million homes.Those sales are UP 14.5% from a year ago. The median price is UP 10.1% in November, going to $180,600, as the months’ supply of existing homes plummeted to 4.8 months.The FHFA index of prices for homes financed by conforming loans gained 0.5% in October, UP 5.6% versus a year ago.
BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK… If you’re persuasive about your product or service, clearly explaining its advantages and benefits, then you don’t really have to “sell.”
>> Review of Last Week
CLIFF WALKING… Investors basically fixated on Washington’s fiscal cliff negotiations. The week began optimistically, and stocks followed suit, heading upward dramatically. But later in the week, a resolution to the tax and spending issues looked less certain, and stock prices faded. Congress then went into recess for the holiday, but planned to return this Thursday if there’s a deal of some sort to consider. Nonetheless, all three stock market indexes posted gains for the week.
Investors were encouraged when Q3 GDP was revised up to 3.1% annual growth from the prior 2.7% estimate. The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index reported expansion in December, although the New York Empire Manufacturing Index indicatedcontraction. Personal Income was up in November and Core PCE Prices, excluding volatile food and energy, showed inflation up only 1.5% for the year. Unfortunately, Michigan Consumer Sentiment dropped to its lowest level since January. Too much fiscal cliff reporting, no doubt.
For the week, the Dow ended up 0.4%, to 13191; the S&P 500 was up 1.2%, to 1430; and the Nasdaq was up 1.7%, to 3021.
Activity in the bond market was held in check by the continuing political back-and-forth over how to stop the economy from going of over a fiscal cliff. The FNMA 3.5% bond we watch ended the week down .09, at $106.14. National average mortgage rates were again at or near historic lows in Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported demand for purchase loans fell slightly for the week, but are UP 9% versus a year ago
DID YOU KNOW?… “Market capitalization” refers to the total value of a company’s stock, obtained by multiplying the number of shares outstanding by the current price per share. A company with 15 million shares at $20 has a market cap of $300 million.
>> This Week’s Forecast
NEW HOME SALES, PENDING HOME SALES, CONSUMERS, FACTORIES… A short week features some nice holiday presents if you like receiving economic data. November New Home Sales look to be inching up to a 379,000 annual rate. Pending Home Salesare forecast up, but less than the prior month. December Consumer Confidence is expected down from last month’s reading, but the Chicago PMI Index of Midwest manufacturing should be up a bit, showing growth.
Source, Guild Mortgage, Rebecca Hansen