The Market Into March

Mar 1, 2018

Last Week’s Economic Headlines

•Home sales have slowed over the winter months, as existing home sales fell 3.2% in January following a 3.6% drop in December. According to the National Association of Realtors®, sales of existing homes are 4.8% below a year ago, which is the largest annual decline since August 2014. The NAR suggests that a lack of inventory has driven prices higher, pushing some potential buyers out of the market. Nevertheless, total housing inventory at the end of January rose 4.1%, which is still 9.5% lower than a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 3.4-month supply (3.6 months a year ago). The median existing-home price for all housing types in January was $240,500, up 5.8% from January 2017 ($227,300).

•In the week ended February 17, there were 222,000 initial claims for unemployment insurance, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week’s level, which was revised down by 1,000. The advance insured unemployment rate slipped to 1.3% for the week ended February 10. The advance number of those receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the week ended February 10 was 1,875,000, a decrease of 73,000 from the prior week’s level, which was revised up 6,000.

Eye on the Week Ahead

The week opens with the January report on new home sales, which slid in December. The second report on the fourth-quarter gross domestic product is out mid-week. The first installment showed annualized economic growth at 2.6%, with consumer spending up a strong 3.8%. This week’s report is based on more detailed information and may change noticeably from last month’s account.

Data sources: News items are based on reports from multiple commonly available international news sources (i.e. wire services) and are independently verified when necessary with secondary sources such as government agencies, corporate press releases, or trade organizations. Market data: Based on data reported in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. Past performance is no guarantee.

Courtesy of ERL Financial