Today’s market update!

The stock market continues to soar to the stars. Another week, and more record highs. The driving force behind the Dow’s rocket ship climb is the expectation of tremendous growth in corporate earnings. The economy as a whole is doing extremely well. We are essentially at full employment in the United States. There are numerous strong economic data reports that have been coming out. Inflation remains low while interest rates are also low. Major corporations are showing strong profits.

In addition to this, the corporate taxes are dropping from 39% to 21%. This sets the stage for huge corporate profits and business growth. As much as there has been much criticism regarding the change in tax policy, more and more companies are announcing that they are giving some of the tax reduction windfall back to their employees. Albeit in most cases, what is being paid out to employees is not significant in comparison to the savings the companies will receive, it is still more money going to consumers that will bolster the economy further.

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Report:

Despite the fact that the number of job openings has declined slightly from the highs of July, there is still clearly a labor shortage. New hiring continues to remain strong at or near the all-time high that was set in October at 5.592 million.

Workers and employers however are remaining risk adverse. The number of people leaving their current jobs declined by 0.9 percent in November. Even though there are plenty of job openings, it appears that workers seem to be more comfortable and secure remaining where they are versus seeking higher pay.

Mortgage Application Activity:

Despite mortgage rates rising in the first week of the year, home loan activity for both purchases and refinances continues to point to a strong housing market. For the week ending January 5th, applications for refinancing unexpectedly jumped by 11.00 percent. For the same period mortgage apps for purchasing increased by 5.0 percent. Refinance applications still represent approximately 52 percent of mortgage loan activity.

 Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday January 15th – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Tuesday January 16th – Empire State Manufacturing Survey
  • Wednesday January 17th – MBA Mortgage Applications, Housing Market Index
  • Thursday January 18th – First Time Jobless Claims, Housing Starts
  • Friday January 19th – Consumer Sentiment

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can.  Please feel free to reach me at 661-618-1789.

 

How I get past the sadness…and your market update

I’ve been struggling the last few weeks, trying to take in all the tragedies that have hit our country in the last few months. Between the hurricanes, earthquakes, the horror in Las Vegas and now the devastating fires in Anaheim and Northern California, it’s too much to take in.

My heart goes out to all those affected by this and I pray for their healing, courage and strength.

When I find myself feeling overwhelmed by the sadness and loss, I shift my focus to the heroism and hope that I also see during these times. It warms my heart to know that we are people of love, compassion and strength and during these difficult times, we help each other. Strangers help strangers, we lift each other up (quite literally as witnessed in Vegas) and we give.

We give money, prayers, hugs, love, time, energy and whatever we can to help those hurting. This is what I focus on- the love and compassion that is the true spirit of our country. I hope this is your focus as well.

Onto the market update…

The Stock Market and the Fed:

Employment is very strong, and investors continue to ride the wave of growing stock values. The stock market did lose some momentum this week as many investors have taken their recent profits out of the market. Additionally, President Trump’s proposed changes to the tax code has many investors evaluating how they believe these proposed changes will impact corporate profits. As important in the evaluation, are investors beliefs on which proposed changes are likely to get passed.

Mortgage Rates and Applications:

After two recent weeks of application growth, purchase applications for the week ending October 6th came in flat. There is strength in the application data in that compared to the same time last year, purchase applications are higher by 7.0 percent. Refinancing is down to 49 percent of loan applications.

FOMC Minutes

 Based upon the latest reading of the FOMC minutes, it appears that the Fed is still struggling with what action to take relating to interest rates. As some of the members believe strongly in bumping rates up in December, there are other members who feel adamant that inflation is not yet high enough to support a rate increase. In evaluating the Fed minutes, one thing that is clear is many board members appear to be stymied by the fact that inflation continues to remain so low. The feeling from the members is that with the labor market essentially being at full employment, inflation pressures should have increased.

 The Latest on Inflation

A week after the Fed meeting and their focus being on the lack of inflation, reports for the Producer Price Index and the Consumer Price Index were released. Coming off the analysis from the Fed that inflation is too low, prices on the wholesale level jumped by 0.4 percent for the month of September. This increase was more than experts predicted. Caution that has to be applied to this increase in that some of it is related to the recent storm damage in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Inflation on the retail level increased by 0.5 percent in September. This, just like the wholesale data, was higher than anticipated. Storm damage is part of the reason, however underlying fundamentals may be pointing to an overall upward trend in inflation. This latest report increases the likelihood of the Fed increasing rates in December.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Tuesday October 17th – Industrial Production, Housing Market Index
  • Wednesday October 18th – MBA Mortgage Applications, Housing Starts
  • Thursday October 19th – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday October 20th – Existing Home Sales

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can.  Please feel free to reach me at 661-618-1789.