Economic update for the week ending December 15, 2018

New York Stock Exchange

Stocks ended the week down 

Signs of a slowing economy in Asia and Europe wiped out gains earlier in the week as stocks fell 2% on Friday. Earlier in the week it looked like stocks would end the week higher as investors  felt more optimistic that a trade deal would be worked out with China after President Trump tweeted that progress has been made, and talks with China have been productive. An inflation report showed inflation in check which lowers the risk of higher interest rates. Unfortunately, Friday’s repots that showed weakness in Asia and Europe wiped out the earlier weekly gains, and stocks had another losing week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 24,100.51, down from 24,338.94 last week. It was down 1.2% for the week and is now down 2.5% year-to-date.  The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,599.95, down  from 2,633.08 last week. It was down 1.3% for the week and is down 2.8% year-to-date. The NASDAQ closed the week at 6,910.77, down from 6,969.25 last week.   It was down 08% for the week and down 0.1%  year-to –date. 

Treasury Bond Yields unchanged 

The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 2.89%, up slightly from 2.85%  last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 3.14%, unchanged from 3.14% last week. We watch treasury bond yields because mortgage rates follow bond yields. 

Mortgage rates dropped to the lowest level in three months 

The December 13, 2018 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 4.63%, down from 4.75% last week. The 15-year fixed was 4.07%, down from 4.21%  last week. The 5-year ARM was 4.04%, down from 4.07% last week. Rates ended the week even lower.