Economic update for the week ending October 28, 2017

Stocks markets close at record levels for 7th straight week – Stocks were higher again this week, reaching record levels for the seventh week in a row. These gains came in what was the busiest week for third quarter earnings. Several technology companies reported solid earnings, pushing the NASDAQ up 2.2% on Friday. Some other factors that bolstered stocks were: Congress appeared to be close to passing tax cuts, which include reducing the corporate tax rate substantially. Some congress people said it could be passed by thanksgiving. The first release of the third quarter GDP showed the economy grew at a 3% rate in the third quarter. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the week at 23,434.19, up from 23,328.64 last week. It’s up 18.6% year to date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,581.07, up from its close last week of 2,575.21. The S&P is up 15.3% YTD. The NASDAQ closed the week at 6,701.26, up from its last week’s close of 6,629.05. It’s up 24.5% year-to-date. 

Bond yields higher this week – The 10-year Treasury bond closed the week at 2.43%, up from 2.39% last week. The 30-year treasury yield ended the week at 2.93%, up from 2.89% last week. Mortgage rates follow treasury bond yields so we watch bond yields carefully.

Mortgage Rates higher this week – The October 26, 2017 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 3.94%, up from 3.88% last week. The 15-year fixed was 3.25%, up from 3.19% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.21%,up from 3.17% last week. 

Third quarter GDP beats expectations – The Commerce Department reported that the Gross Domestic Product, the broadest measure of growth in the economy, unexpectedly rose 3% in the third quarter after a 3,1% increase in the second quarter. Analysts expected that the rate of growth would be 2.5%, due to some slowing caused by hurricane damaged areas. 

September U.S. Existing Home Sales and Prices – The National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales increased 0.7% in September from August sales levels. Year-over-year closed escrows on existing homes were 1.5% below last September’s pace. Most of that decline was attributed to hurricane damaged areas which showed large declines in sales. Existing home sales include re-sales of one to four unit homes, town-homes, condominiums, and Co-ops. The median price nationwide for an existing home increased 4.2% from September 2016, the 67th straight month of year-over-year increases. Total housing inventory was 1.6% higher in September than in August, but 6.4% below last September, representing its 28th straight month of year-over-year decreases in the amount of homes for sale. The unsold inventory index fell to a 4.2 month supply of homes for sale, down from a 4.5 month supply one year ago. 

Have a great weekend,