DOWN MEANS UP… It seemed as if investors on Wall Street were following Alice Through the Looking-Glass, listening to the Red Queen proclaim down is up. Economic data trended down, while all three market indexes ended solidly up. By the end of festivities on Friday, the Dow finished above 18,000 for the first time this year, the tech heavy Nasdaq hit its highest level since March 2000, and the S&P 500 set a fresh closing record high. Investors felt good about oil price stabilizing after rising for a few weeks, were relieved to see France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine strike a ceasefire agreement, and saw signs of resolution to the Greek financial mess.
The down side of the story was all about the U.S. economy. Retail Sales were off 0.8% in January, their worst monthly read since 2009. Lower gas prices were blamed, but take them out of the equation and retail was still flat. Michigan Consumer Sentiment missed expectations, but some said that’s OK as long as income keeps edging up. Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims grew by 25,000, slipping over the 300,000 threshold. Yet the four-week moving average dropped for a third straight week to a 289,000 level, about 10,000 lower than a month ago. Continuing Unemployment Claims dropped by 51,000, to 2.354 million.
The week ended with the Dow UP 1.1%, to 18019; the S&P 500 UP 2.0%, to 2097; and the Nasdaq UP 3.1%, to 4894.
Investor money flowed into stocks and out of bonds, sending prices southward. The 30YR FNMA 4.0% bond we watch finished the week down .02, to $106.24.For the week ending February 12, national average fixed mortgage rates edged up a little in Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. But rates still remain near May 2013 lows.Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up to the minute information.
DID YOU KNOW?… Last week, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher pointed out that for all the concerns about falling oil prices, total capital expenditures for oil and gas are only 1% to 2% of GDP.
Newsletter from Troy Lepisto of First Mortgage. Call for your loan needs 505-670-6399