Economic Update | Week Ending June 15, 2024

Economic news this week – Interest rates fell on tame inflation data – This week several reports suggested that inflation was cooling after picking up earlier in the year. On Wednesday the May Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures were released. Consumer prices increased 3.3% year-over-year in May, down from a 3.4% year-over-year increase in April. On a month-over-month basis, consumer prices held flat for the first time since July 2022. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 3.4% year-over-year, its smallest annual increase since April 2021. On Thursday, the Producer Price Index (PPI), a gauge of prices that producers get for their goods and services in the open market, was released. It showed that wholesale prices declined 0.2% month-over-month in May, following April’s surprise 0.5% increase. Year-over-year the PPI increased 2.2%. The core PPI increased 2.3% year-over-year. Economists had expected a 2.5% increase, so this was also good news. The graph below shows the trend of the CPI rate since 2021.

Stock markets – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 38,589.16, down 0.8% from 38,898.99 last week. It is up 2.4% year-to-date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 5,431.16, up 1.6% from 5,346.99 last week. The S&P is up 13.9% year-to-date. The Nasdaq closed the week at 17,688.88, up 3.2% from 17,133.13 last week. It is up 17.8% year-to-date.

U.S. Treasury bond yields – The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 4.20%, down from 4.43% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 4.34%, down from 4.55% last week. We watch bond yields because mortgage rates follow bond yields. The 10-year was 4.28% on Thursday and shot up to 4.43% Friday after the hot jobs report was released.

Mortgage rates – Every Thursday Freddie Mac publishes interest rates based on a survey of mortgage lenders throughout the week. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as of June 13, 2024, were as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.95%, down from 6.99% last week. The 15-year fixed was 6.17%, down from 6.29% last week.

The graph below shows the trajectory of mortgage rates over the past year.

Freddie Mac was chartered by Congress in 1970 to keep money flowing to mortgage lenders in support of homeownership and rental housing. Their mandate is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S.

May home sales figures will be released next week by the California Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. You can get that data now for your county, city, or zip code at RodeoRE.com.

Happy Father’s Day to all Dads!

Mortgage Rate Update | June 13, 2024

Mortgage rates – Every Thursday Freddie Mac publishes interest rates based on a survey of mortgage lenders throughout the week. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as of June 13, 2024, were as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.95%, down from 6.99% last week. The 15-year fixed was 6.17%, down from 6.29% last week.

The graph below shows the trajectory of mortgage rates over the past year.

Freddie Mac was chartered by Congress in 1970 to keep money flowing to mortgage lenders in support of homeownership and rental housing. Their mandate is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S.

From Sony’s Alamo Acquisition to Apple and More! | Tech News

As June continues on, we’re staying connected with what’s happening in the world of tech. From Sony’s Alamo Acquisition to Apple Pay and more, we have you covered. Read this week’s tech news blog below for the major headlines, you want to know!

Sony Pictures Acquires Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Sony Pictures Entertainment has acquired Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a popular movie theater chain known for its unique movie-dining experience. The theaters will be managed under Sony’s new division, Sony Pictures Experiences, while Alamo Drafthouse will continue to operate its 35 cinemas across 25 metro areas with Michael Kustermann remaining as CEO. The Alamo Drafthouse acquisition includes maintaining the Fantastic Fest film festival. Sony is purchasing Alamo Drafthouse from Altamont Capital Partners, Fortress Investment Group, and founder Tim League, who acquired the chain after its Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2021. This move follows the 2020 reversal of the Paramount Consent Decrees, allowing movie distributors like Sony and Netflix to own theaters again.

Apple Expands Apple Pay to Non-Safari Browsers

Apple is expanding Apple Pay to work on non-Safari desktop web browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and even Windows PCs, as reported by MacRumors. Demonstrated in a WWDC 2024 video, users will soon be able to click an Apple Pay button on these browsers, scan a special code with an iPhone running iOS 18, and complete transactions on their phone. Previously limited to Safari on Macs, this update will increase the visibility of Apple Pay buttons across the web. Additionally, the video detailed iOS 18’s redesigned event tickets in Apple Wallet, set to debut this fall.

Meta Enhances WhatsApp Video Calls for Large Groups

Meta is enhancing WhatsApp video calls with features that benefit large group conversations. A new speaker spotlight feature will automatically highlight the current speaker on-screen, while improved screen sharing will now include audio when showing videos. Additionally, video calls will support up to 32 participants across all devices, removing previous limits on the desktop apps. These updates are set to roll out over the next few weeks.

TikTok Launches “Off the Record” Video Series for Musicians

TikTok is launching a new video series, “Off the Record,” to help musicians promote their music on the platform. Produced by TikTok, the series features artists like Shakira, Charli XCX, and Meghan Trainor discussing their inspiration and creative process in short clips. The videos are shared throughout June, with a dedicated hub available via the #OfftheRecord search. This initiative is part of TikTok’s ongoing efforts to support artists and strengthen connections between them and their fans.

OpenAI, Microsoft, and Oracle Collab for Increased Compute Capacity

A partnership has been announced by OpenAI, Microsoft, and Oracle. The move will provide more computing capacity for running ChatGPT. OpenAI will utilize Microsoft’s Azure AI platform on Oracle’s infrastructure to meet the growing demand for its services. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman emphasized the need for additional infrastructure, and the Oracle deal aims to scale OpenAI’s operations. While OpenAI has primarily relied on Microsoft, which has invested $13 billion in the company, this partnership highlights the necessity for more compute resources. Despite potential sensitivities, OpenAI assures that its strategic relationship with Microsoft remains unchanged, with core model pre-training continuing on Microsoft’s supercomputers. Notably, Oracle also supports xAI, a rival AI company founded by Elon Musk.

Weekend Events | Father’s Day Weekend

Father’s Day weekend has arrived! Check out what’s happening throughout town as summer goes into hyperdrive. There is certainly no shortage of fun to be had with family and friends from June 14 through June 16. 

Los Angeles Weekend Events | Father’s Day Weekend

Hollywood Bowl Jazz Festival

When: June 15 – June 16

Where: Hollywood Bowl

What: Eager to experience jazz greats from past and present? Prepare for smooth harmonies and soulful grooves at the annual Hollywood Bowl Jazz Festival this summer. Over two days, enjoy performances by Jodeci, Kamasi Washington, Robert Glasper, and more. Since it’s at the iconic Hollywood Bowl, bring a bottle of wine, gather some friends, and groove along to the finest in jazz music.

Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance

When: June 16

Where: Rodeo Drive – Beverly Hills

What: Rodeo Drive comes alive with an impressive display of supercars and motorcycles, both vintage and modern, in this beloved Father’s Day tradition.

Friday Night Wine Tastings

When: May 31 – August 30

Where: Hollyhock House

What: Now a cherished summer tradition in Los Angeles, Barnsdall Park’s wine tastings have made a triumphant return after a five-year hiatus. Located atop Olive Hill on the west lawn of the historic Hollyhock House, these Friday evening fundraisers offer attendees the chance to enjoy fine boutique wines provided by Silverlake Wine. For an additional $25, you can also tour the iconic Hollyhock House during the event. The experience is enhanced by a spectacular sunset and stunning 360-degree views of the city, making it a perfect summer evening outing for Father’s Day weekend.

 

Westside & Beach Communities Weekend Events | Father’s Day Weekend

The Long Beach Juneteenth Celebration

When: June 15 

Where: Long Beach

What: Celebrate Black culture at this free Long Beach festival, offering a variety of family-friendly activities, local vendors, delicious food and drinks, and vibrant music. The highlight of the event is a special set by Anderson .Paak, performing under his DJ Pee .Wee moniker. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich heritage and lively atmosphere of this community celebration!

Off the 405

When: June 1 – August 24

Where: The Getty

What: Hilltop sunset views and emerging bands make this Getty tradition a must-visit for Angelenos from both sides of the 405. This year’s lineup of free Saturday night shows includes Hailu Mergia (June 1), Slauson Malone 1 (June 15), Helado Negro (July 20), Julia Holter (July 27), and Woods (August 24). Tip: To avoid traffic and crowds, arrive early, preferably after 3pm when the parking fee drops to $15 (or $10 if you wait until the show starts). This way, you can explore the exhibits, which remain open until 8pm on Saturdays, and avoid the dinner rush.

Outdoor Movies at the Skirball

When: May 31 – July 12

Where: Skirball Cultural Center

What: Settle into the Skirball Cultural Center’s courtyard for a series of outdoor screenings. In conjunction with its exhibition, “Wild Things Are Happening: The Art of Maurice Sendak,” the Sepulveda Pass museum will feature screenings of “The NeverEnding Story,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” and “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

San Fernando Valley Weekend Events | Father’s Day Weekend

Propagating California Native Plants

When: June 14

Where: Theodore Payne Foundation

What: Discover the art of vegetative propagation this Father’s Day with California native plants using specimens from the TPF gardens. In this hands-on session, you’ll learn how to start and grow plants from cuttings. Whether you’re a professional or a gardening enthusiast, this informative course will equip you with essential propagation techniques for your home or community garden. Each participant will take home a flat of 50 plant starts for their own garden. The class also includes an informative tour of the TPF propagation facilities. All materials are provided.

Santa Clarita NAACP Juneteenth Celebration

When: June 14

Where: City of Santa Clarita Activities Center

What: The Santa Clarita NAACP branch invites everyone to celebrate the 2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom with an Adult Game Night Mixer. This year’s event promises an entertaining evening filled with board and card games, interactive activities, friendly competitions, and prizes, along with a specially curated signature cocktail menu. It’s a perfect opportunity for those over 21 to bring friends and family for a night of fun and celebration.

Swingin’ Soul Night

When: June 15

Where: The Mayflower Club | North Hollywood

What: Swingin’ Soul Night returns on Saturday, June 15th, featuring special guest DJ Ashley Cohen Conner from Arizona! Enjoy a full bar, spacious dance floor, free parking, and a complimentary dance lesson. Dance the night away to the best 50s and 60s Soul and R&B hits.

 

Conejo Valley Weekend Events | Father’s Day Weekend

Summer Season at Theatricum Botanicum

When: Until October 20

Where: Topanga

What: For over 50 years, this iconic venue has attracted theater enthusiasts to its enchanting open-air stage for captivating productions. Nestled in Topanga Canyon, the 299-seat amphitheater welcomes audiences of all ages with a diverse array of plays, from Shakespearean classics to folktales. This season’s highlights include William Shakespeare’s ‘The Winter’s Tale’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, as well as ‘Wendy’s Peter Pan’, *Tartuffe: Born Again’, and ‘The Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx/Latine Vote’.

Ojai Wine Festival at Lake Casitas

When: June 15, 12pm – 4pm

Where: Lake Casitas Recreation Area, 11311 Santa Ana Rd, Ventura

What: Celebrate Father’s Day at the 36th Annual Ojai Wine Festival, the longest-running wine festival in Ventura County. The event returns to the picturesque setting of Lake Casitas in the Ojai Valley. This idyllic venue offers the perfect backdrop to sample award-winning wines, craft beers, fine spirits, ciders, kombucha, and spiked seltzers. Attendees can look forward to an extensive selection of wineries and craft breweries, complemented by a variety of gourmet food trucks serving delicious culinary delights.

Father’s Day Car Show at Channel Islands Harbor

When: June 16, 10am – 3pm

Where: Channel Islands Harbor, 3900 Pelican Way, Oxnard

What: The Father’s Day Car Show at Channel Islands Harbor on Sunday, June 16, 2024, from 10 am to 3 pm, will showcase an eclectic mix of custom cars, hot rods, low riders, motorcycles, and classics. It’s the perfect opportunity to display your rides and reconnect with friends and family. The event will also feature food trucks, a raffle, music, and numerous vendors. Proceeds will benefit Food Share of Ventura County.

Dining Out With Dad | L.A. Eats

Father’s Day is the perfect occasion to treat Dad to a memorable meal. Whether he’s a fan of a hearty steak, a lover of all-you-can-eat Brazilian fare, or enjoys unique culinary experiences, Los Angeles offers a plethora of dining options to make his day special. Here are some top recommendations to ensure a delicious Father’s Day celebration.

Ban Ban Burger

Location: 1644 Sawtelle Blvd., West L.A.

If your dad enjoys a good burger with a twist, Ban Ban Burger is the place to go. Situated in the bustling Sawtelle neighborhood, this new fast-casual spot is brought to you by the creators of Chao Krung Thai and Tuk Tuk Thai. Ban Ban Burger blends nostalgic American comfort food with bold Thai flavors. Try the grapow burger, which comes topped with a fried egg and American cheese, or the wagyu laab burger featuring onions, Thai pickles, mint, and herb sauce on a soft potato roll. Order at the window and savor your meal on the inviting patio while enjoying a Thai iced tea milkshake.

Dan Tana’s

Location: 9071 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood

For an old-school Italian experience, look no further than Dan Tana’s. This West Hollywood institution has been serving up classic Italian dishes since 1964. The ambiance is timeless, with waiters in black tuxedos, red booths, and wicker-encased Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling. Indulge in staples like the chicken parmigiana, paired with a side of spaghetti marinara. The house marinara sauce, now available at Bristol Farms, is a must-try. Come with a hearty appetite and enjoy a nostalgic evening that transports you back in time.

H&H Brazilian Steakhouse

Location: Multiple Locations

For the meat-loving dad, H&H Brazilian Steakhouse offers an authentic churrascaria experience. Located in Downtown L.A. and Beverly Hills, this steakhouse serves a rotating selection of 16 different meats carved tableside. On Father’s Day, enjoy their special $70 per person all-day feast, featuring grass-fed and organic meats, including Japanese A5 wagyu and halal options. Start with their extensive salad bar and explore the biodynamic wine list for the perfect pairing.

Loulou Rooftop Restaurant and Lounge

Location: 395 Santa Monica Place, No. 300, Santa Monica

Celebrate Father’s Day with a view at Loulou Rooftop Restaurant and Lounge. Overlooking the ocean in Santa Monica, this French-influenced spot offers lively entertainment alongside its delicious dishes. The Father’s Day brunch buffet, priced at $59 per person, includes pulled-pork sliders, roasted beef tri-tip, and more, all set to a backdrop of disco music, drag queens, and DJs. For dinner, try the truffle wagyu carpaccio, duck confit, or lamb chops, and enjoy a memorable meal with a scenic view.

Steak 48

Location: 9680 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills

For a sophisticated steakhouse experience, head to Steak 48 in Beverly Hills. This venue boasts a whiskey-tasting section, private rooms, and booths near the open-view kitchen. Feast on prime cuts of meat, responsibly farmed and wet-aged for 28 days before being hand-cut by a master butcher. Standout dishes include the 22-ounce bone-in rib eye and bone-in Iberico pork chops, served with buttermilk whipped potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts. Kosher options are also available, ensuring something for everyone.

Grand Cafe

Location: 251 S Olive St, Los Angeles

Located at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel, Grand Cafe offers an expansive outdoor patio and a central location perfect for a Father’s Day outing. Kick-off their Art of BBQ series with a Father’s Day BBQ Brunch featuring complimentary craft beers and bottomless mimosas. The buffet includes a variety of stations with offerings such as slow-roasted prime rib, made-to-order omelets, Alaskan snow crab, and more. Enjoy a festive atmosphere and a diverse menu sure to delight every dad.

Culina – Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

Location: 300 S. Doheny Dr., Los Angeles

Culina at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills serves a lavish Father’s Day Brunch from 10 am to 3 pm. Enjoy a variety of stations, including Breakfast & Eggs, Morning Pastries, Sushi & Seafood, Dim Sum, Carving, Outdoor Grill, Mexican, and Dessert. The brunch includes a 9-hole putt-putt course and lawn games. Pricing is $149 per adult.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

Location: 800 W. Olympic Blvd. Suite A135, Los Angeles

For a premium steakhouse experience, visit Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar at L.A. LIVE. On Father’s Day weekend, treat Dad to a three-course prix fixe menu starting with Caesar salad or lobster bisque, followed by a 35oz Prime Tomahawk steak, and finishing with key lime pie or carrot cake. The highlight is the bourbon-tasting experience featuring Maker’s Mark, Basil Hayden’s, and Knob Creek for $20. Fleming’s opens early at 10 am on Father’s Day to serve their Signature Eggs Benedict.

Baltaire

Location: 11647 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles

Baltaire in Brentwood offers a special Dad’s and Grad’s brunch buffet on June 15. Enjoy the same prix fixe brunch experience that you know and love on Saturday 6/15 and Sunday 6/15, with roaming carts serving the best Bloody Marys and champagne, plus frozen palomas, seafood towers, and incredible beats. Reservations are recommended.

Saddle Peak Lodge

Location: 419 Cold Canyon Rd., Calabasas

Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains, Saddle Peak Lodge provides a rustic retreat perfect for Father’s Day. Chef Adam Horton’s three-course brunch includes choices like Tarragon Deviled Eggs, Baby Kale and Strawberry Salad, Maple Dijon Glazed Salmon, and more. Pricing is $85 per person and $55 for children.

Whether your dad prefers a casual burger with a twist, a traditional Italian feast, or an indulgent steakhouse experience, these LA restaurants offer a variety of ways to celebrate him this Father’s Day. Treat him to a meal that matches his tastes and make the day one to remember.

Father’s Day Fun in SoCal | Out & About

Father’s Day is just around the corner, and Southern California offers a plethora of exciting activities to celebrate this special day. Whether your dad is an adventure seeker, a foodie, or someone who enjoys a laid-back day, there’s something for everyone. Here are some fantastic ways to spend Father’s Day weekend in Southern California.

1. Explore Griffith Park and Observatory

Kick off Father’s Day weekend with a visit to Griffith Park and Observatory in Los Angeles. Start your day with a hike through the park’s numerous trails, which offer stunning views of the city and the iconic Hollywood Sign. After the hike, head to the Griffith Observatory. It’s a great spot for stargazing and learning about the cosmos. The observatory also provides panoramic views of Los Angeles, making it a perfect place to snap some memorable photos with your dad.

2. Deep-Sea Fishing Adventure

If your dad loves the ocean, a deep-sea fishing trip can be an exhilarating experience. Southern California boasts several charter companies offering fishing trips off the coast of Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego. These trips cater to all levels of experience, so even if you and your dad are novices, you’ll be well taken care of. Plus, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of reeling in a big catch-together!

3. Wine Tasting in Temecula Valley

For a more relaxed Father’s Day, consider a wine-tasting tour in Temecula Valley. Known for its beautiful vineyards and award-winning wines, Temecula Valley offers various wine-tasting experiences. Book a guided tour or simply hop from winery to winery, enjoying the scenic views and delicious wines. Some wineries even offer gourmet food pairings, making it a delightful culinary adventure.

4. Visit the Petersen Automotive Museum

If your dad is a car enthusiast, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is a must-visit. The museum features an extensive collection of classic, vintage, and futuristic cars. Spend the day exploring the exhibits, which highlight the history and innovation of the automobile industry. The museum also offers interactive displays and special exhibits, providing a fun and educational experience for all ages.

5. Golfing at Torrey Pines

Treat your dad to a round of golf at the renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla. Known for its breathtaking coastal views and challenging courses, Torrey Pines is a golfer’s paradise. Whether your dad is an avid golfer or a casual player, he’ll appreciate the chance to play on one of the most beautiful courses in the country. Don’t forget to make a reservation in advance, as this popular spot tends to fill up quickly.

6. Beach Day in Santa Monica

For a classic Southern California experience, spend the day at Santa Monica Beach. Enjoy a leisurely bike ride along the boardwalk, take a dip in the ocean, or simply relax on the sand. The Santa Monica Pier offers various attractions, including an amusement park, aquarium, and numerous dining options. End the day with a seafood dinner at one of the pier’s restaurants, enjoying the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

7. Kayaking in La Jolla Cove

For an adventurous day on the water, consider kayaking in La Jolla Cove. The clear waters and diverse marine life make it a popular spot for kayaking and snorkeling. Rent a kayak and explore the sea caves and underwater park. You might even spot sea lions and colorful fish along the way. Guided tours are available for those who want a more informative experience.

8. Attend a Sports Game

If your dad is a sports fan, taking him to a live game can be an unforgettable experience. Depending on the season, you can catch a Dodgers or Angels baseball game, a Lakers or Clippers basketball game, or even an LA Galaxy soccer match. The energy of the crowd and the excitement of the game make for a thrilling Father’s Day activity.

Southern California offers endless opportunities to create lasting memories with your dad this Father’s Day. Whether you’re exploring nature, indulging in culinary delights, or enjoying a day of sports and adventure, there’s something to make every dad feel special. Plan your perfect Father’s Day weekend and celebrate the amazing fathers in your life with these fun activities.

Creative Outdoor Summer Gatherings | Home Tips

As the days lengthen and the weather warms, we’re drawn outdoors to enjoy the beauty of summer. With the arrival of this vibrant season, opportunities to gather with family and friends in the open air abound. But if you’re looking to make your outdoor festivities more than just a typical BBQ party, we’ve got some innovative outdoor entertainment ideas for your summer get-togethers.

1. Summer Outdoor Movie Night

Transform your backyard into a personal theater by hosting an outdoor movie night. All you need is a portable projector, a white sheet or a portable screen, comfortable seating, and your favorite films. Don’t forget the popcorn and a selection of your favorite summer beverages!

2. Garden Tour and Plant Swap

If you’re a gardening enthusiast, why not show off your flourishing summer garden? Organize a garden tour for your friends and encourage them to bring their homegrown produce or plants. Finish the tour with a plant swap to share the fruits of your gardening labor.

3. Summer DIY Pizza Party

Set up a DIY pizza-making station with various toppings for your guests to customize their pizzas. Preheat your grill or an outdoor pizza oven, and you’ve got yourself an interactive and delicious party idea. Pair this with some summer salads and cool drinks, and your guests will be raving about the food for days.

4. Backyard Games Tournament

Whether it’s lawn bowling, cornhole, or a mini-golf course you set up, a backyard games tournament can bring a fun and competitive edge to your party. It’s an excellent way for guests to interact, laugh, and create unforgettable memories.

5. DIY Cocktail and Mocktail Bar

Set up a DIY cocktail and mocktail bar complete with a variety of spirits, mixers, fresh fruits, and garnishes. It’s a fun and interactive way for guests to create their perfect summer drink. You could even hold a mini-mixologist competition to see who comes up with the most delicious concoction.

6. Outdoor Art Party

Set up easels and provide paints, brushes, and canvases for an outdoor art party. Guests can express their creativity, and it also gives them a wonderful keepsake to take home at the end of the party. To take it up a notch, hire a local artist to give a short workshop.

7. Summer Star Gazing Party

Take advantage of clear summer nights by hosting a stargazing party. Set out some blankets and pillows, provide some star maps, and serve midnight snacks. You can even set up a telescope if you have one.

8. Water Balloon Dodgeball

For a hot summer day, nothing beats a water balloon dodgeball game. It’s a fun and refreshing way to keep cool. Just ensure you have a space where guests can dry off and plenty of towels on hand.

9. DIY S’mores Station

A s’mores station is a sweet way to end any summer party. Provide different types of marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. You can either use a fire pit or set up a mini tabletop s’mores station for each guest.

10. Summer Outdoor Karaoke

With a portable karaoke machine, your backyard can transform into a stage. An outdoor karaoke session brings laughter, entertainment, and plenty of memorable performances.

These innovative ideas will make your summer get-togethers the talk of the season. Remember, the primary goal is to enjoy each other’s company, have fun, and make the most of the glorious summer weather. Happy entertaining!

Economic Update | Week Ending June 8, 2024

Economic news this week – This week it looked like interest rates were going to begin to fall. The 10-year bond yield and mortgage rates dropped every day. The 10-year fell to 4.28% from 4.51% last Friday, as it began to appear that the economy was finally slowing. Several key reports were released. The week started off with a report from the Labor Department showing that April Job openings, a measure of labor demand, were down to the lowest level since February 2021.  There were 1.24 openings for every person unemployed in April, down from 1.3 positions for every person unemployed in March, and the lowest since June 2021. Another report showed that manufacturing fell for a second consecutive month in May. Experts felt that manufacturing was struggling with higher interest rates and weaker consumer spending. Disposable personal income fell 0.1% in April, from the previous month. The personal savings rate was 3.6% in April and March, the lowest since December 2022. Also, the Q1 2024 GDP was revised downward from 1.6% to 1.4%, indicating that the economy was finally showing signs of slowing after one of the most aggressive campaigns of interest rate hikes and other tightening measures by the Fed in decades. Consumer spending reports showed that consumer spending finally showed signs of slowing, as retail sales decreased in March and April. Unfortunately, on Friday, a blockbuster May Jobs report was released showing that job growth and wages surged in May. Investors who were beginning to believe that the economy was finally slowing and inflation settling, were shocked by the surge in job growth and wages, and now feel that a rate drop by the Fed is months away. Bond yields and mortgage rates rose sharply on Friday after the jobs report was released. 

U.S. Job growth surged in May – The Department of Labor and Statistics reported that 272,000 new jobs added in May. That shocked experts who expected 165,000-180,000 new jobs. May marked the 41st consecutive month of job growth.  The unemployment rate rose to 4% in May, up from 3.9% in April, ending a 27 straight month streak with the unemployment rate below 4%. That has not happened since the 1960s. Had May’s unemployment remained below 4%, that would have marked the longest streak in history with unemployment under 4%.  After two years of high interest rates it was widely felt that job growth would finally be slowing, but May’s blowout jobs report shocked everyone. Average hourly wages increased 4.1% year-over-year in May, up from a  3.9% year-over-year increase in April.  The Fed is looking to get the unemployment rate up to the mid-4% range in order to slow wage growth to combat inflation. This report will give the Fed pause. At this point it is now if the Fed will bring interest rates down from a 24-year high but when they enter a new phase of rate drops. A blowout jobs report gives the Fed a reason to hold rates steady and not begin the phase of rate reductions yet.

Stock markets – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 38,798.99, up 0.3% from 38,686.32 last week. It is up 2.9% year-to-date.  The S&P 500 closed the week at 5,346.99, up 1.3% from 5,277.51 last week.  The S&P is up 12.1% year-to-date. The Nasdaq closed the week at 17,133.13, up 2.4% from 16,735.02 last week. It is up 14.1% year-to-date.

U.S. Treasury bond yields – The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 4.43%, down from 4.51% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 4.55%, down from 4.65% last week. We watch bond yields because mortgage rates follow bond yields. The 10-year was 4.28% on Thursday and shot up to 4.43% Friday after the hot jobs report was released.

Mortgage rates – Every Thursday Freddie Mac publishes interest rates based on a survey of mortgage lenders throughout the week. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as of June 6, 2024, were as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.99%, down from 7.03% last week. The 15-year fixed was 6.29%, down from 6.36% last week. Rates rose after the jobs report was released on Friday.

The graph below shows the trajectory of mortgage rates over the past year.

Freddie Mac was chartered by Congress in 1970 to keep money flowing to mortgage lenders in support of homeownership and rental housing. Their mandate is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S.

Mortgage Rate Update | June 6, 2024

Mortgage rates – Every Thursday Freddie Mac publishes interest rates based on a survey of mortgage lenders throughout the week. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as of June 6, 2024, were as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.99%, down from 7.03% last week. The 15-year fixed was 6.29%, down from 6.36% last week.

The graph below shows the trajectory of mortgage rates over the past year.

Freddie Mac was chartered by Congress in 1970 to keep money flowing to mortgage lenders in support of homeownership and rental housing. Their mandate is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S.

From Netflix to Nvidia and More! | Tech News

Don’t miss out on what’s happening in the world of tech! We have you covered with this week’s top technology headlines. Read on for what’s new from Netflix to Nvidia and more!

Netflix Tests New TV App Homepage Design

Netflix is testing a significant redesign of its TV app homepage, replacing static tiles with dynamic boxes that expand when highlighted. The new interface features short previews and detailed information, making it easier to decide what to watch. The updated design includes a streamlined top menu for quicker navigation, consolidating options like “search,” “home,” and “My Netflix.” This redesign aims to enhance user experience, potentially rolling out to more subscribers soon if initial tests are successful.

Apple Commits to Minimum Five Years of iPhone Security Updates

Apple has pledged to provide at least five years of security updates for iPhones, aligning with the UK’s new PSTI Act, which mandates defined support periods for internet-connected products. While this sets a minimum, Apple often extends updates beyond this period, as seen with the nearly 10-year-old iPhone 5S. Starting with the iPhone 15, released on September 22, 2023, users can expect security updates until at least 2028. This commitment contrasts with Google and Samsung, which guarantee seven years of updates for their newer devices.

HP Considering Acquisition of Humane’s AI Pin Business

Following widespread criticism of its $699 AI Pin, Humane is reportedly seeking a buyer, with HP emerging as a potential contender. According to The New York Times, discussions with HP about a sale valued at over $1 billion began shortly after negative reviews surfaced. This aligns with Bloomberg’s report suggesting Humane is looking for a price between $750 million and $1 billion. Led by former Apple employees, Humane has faced challenges including product overheating and fire safety risks, as well as internal dissent. Despite aiming to sell 100,000 units, the company had only received about 10,000 orders by early April.

Samsung’s High-End MicroLED TVs: Massive Sizes and Prices

Samsung’s quest to sell massive and expensive MicroLED TVs began in 2018 with its modular “The Wall” design. Now, the lineup includes 89-inch ($109,999), 101-inch ($129,999), and 114-inch ($149,999) models. These self-emitting TVs offer deep blacks and high contrast similar to OLED, but without burn-in risks. Samsung’s MicroLEDs are bezel-less and versatile, suitable for various setups. Despite their high price, current models, including a 76-inch version from last year, are listed as “out of stock” on Samsung’s online store.

Nvidia Becomes World’s Second Most Valuable Company

Nvidia has become the world’s second most valuable company, reaching a market capitalization of $3.01 trillion, just surpassing Apple’s $3 trillion. Dominating the AI market with its H100 chip, Nvidia’s value soared past $2 trillion in early 2024 and reported $14 billion in profit recently. Now trailing only Microsoft, Nvidia’s stock is over $1,220 per share, with a planned stock split on June 7th. Nvidia controls up to 95% of the AI chip market and plans to release a new AI chip annually, starting with the Blackwell B200 GPU later this year.

Boeing Starliner’s Successful Crewed Launch to ISS

Boeing’s Starliner successfully launched its first crewed mission, lifting off atop the Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and reaching a safe, stable orbit. NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Sunita Williams are en route to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will test the Starliner’s capabilities over the next week before returning to Earth. This marks a significant milestone for Boeing, which has faced setbacks since the start of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program in 2014, including a failed uncrewed launch in 2019 and two previous scrapped crewed launch attempts earlier this year.