Stocks end week higher – Stocks rose noticeably this week, fueled by a surge in oil prices during the week. Oil prices rose by 10% on the announcement of a proposed coordinated production freeze between Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran. The The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 16.391.99, up from 15,973.84 last week. The S&P 500 closed the week at 1,917.78, up from 1,864.78 last week. The NASDAQ closed Friday at 4,505.93, up from 4,337.51 last week.
Bond yields – The 10 year U.S. Treasury bond yield closed Friday at 1.76%, unchanged from 1.74% last week. The 30 year U.S. Treasury bond yield closed Friday at 2.61%, unchanged from 2.60% last week.
Mortgage rates at lowest levels in 3 years and near 50 year lows – The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey showed that average rates on February 18 2016 were as follows: The 30 year fixed average rate was 3.65%. The 15 year fixed average rate was 2.95%. The 5/1 ARM average was was 2.85%.
California home sales post best January performance in 3 years – The California Association of Realtors reported that the number of existing single family homes sold in January was down 5.4% from December, yet up 8.8% from last January, a 3 year high. The median price paid for an existing single family home in California was $468,330 in January, down 4.3% from December, but up 9.2% from January 2015. Inventory levels rose from 2.8 months in December to a 4.3 month supply in January as more homes hit the market. It’s not unusual for sales to be lower in January as final sales are homes that went under contract 30 to 60 days earlier. Pending sales slow over the holiday season which makes closings lower in January. The unsold inventory index uses the current month (January) sales figures, which usually has the lowest number of final sales for the year.