The Weekly Rap! Friday Sept 28, 2012

The Dow is currently trading at 13,432 higher by 205 pts over last week  The S&P 500 is trading higher at 1,441.  Gold is trading at $1,774 an ounce, while oil futures at $92.14 a barrel.  Gas prices, (Regular in El Dorado Hills, Costco, AM/PM), are at $3.87/Gal.  Yields on 10-year notes, which move inversely to prices, are trading at 1.64%.  30-year bond yields are trading at 2.83%.

In economic news this week; U.S. home prices rose in July for the fourth straight month to reach their highest level in nearly two years.  The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite posted a 1.6% increase in July, following 2.3% advance in June.  For the third month in a row, all 20 cities in the index recorded prices gains.

The rise in prices, reflecting a growing demand for new and pre-owned homes following the real-estate market’s worst slump in modern times, is welcome news finally when there have been few things in this current economy that warrants anything to get excited about. Ultra-low interest rates make owning a home more affordable and a mildly improved economy is drawing in buyers who previously were reluctant to make such a big financial commitment.

Pending home sales retreated a bit in August after hitting a two-year high in the previous month. The pending-home-sales index fell to 99.2 from 101.9 in July, the National Association of Realtors reported.  Compared to the same period in 2011, pending home sales were up 10.7%, marking the 15th straight month of year-on-year gains.  A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, and an index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001.

Consumer Confidence increased to 70.3 in September to the highest level in seven months, but still remains relatively low. September expectations increased for employment and business conditions, while consumers’ views on the present situation also rose.

The government chopped its estimate of growth in the second quarter, as consumers and businesses spent and invested less than initially believed.  Gross domestic product or GDP, in the April-to-June period increased by 1.3% instead of 1.7% as previously reported.  A severe drought in the Midwest, which reduced crop yields, has resulted in lower farm inventories. That accounted for much of the downward revision.

And now for the Rant:  I’m sure we’ve all seen the replay by now of the ridiculously blown call that ended the Monday Night Football game, awarding the game to the Seahawks following a blatant pass interference call and an interception by the Packers.  The “replacement referees had one signaling touchdown and the other signaling interception and they were four feet apart.  The NFL called the professional Referees’ insignificant and simply a commodity.  I wont get into the intricacies of the dispute but if they could solve it in a couple days following Monday night’s disaster, then why couldn’t they solve the dispute before the season began?  Personally I think every strike could be solved simply by sequestering both sides in a large room with beds, a bathroom and enough basic food to keep them going (hey, McDonalds serves Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner) until they come to an agreement.  It’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it!

If you know anyone who can benefit from my services, please call me.  My greatest goal is to see clients and friends happy.  I guess that’s why I love providing mortgage financing.  It’s an immediate gratification when you can help someone purchase a home, or lower their payment on their existing home.  For additional information please visit my Stanford Mortgage website :

Bill Bartok

Mortgage Advisor

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