The National Debt is currently: $16,937,192,689,583.00
The Dow last traded at 15,365. The S&P 500 is trading at 1,687. Gold is trading at $1,312 an ounce, while oil futures at $107.92 a barrel. Gas prices, (Regular in El Dorado Hills, Costco, AM/PM), are at $3.77/Gal.
Yields on 10-year Treasury notes, which move inversely to prices, last traded at 2.90%. 30-year Treasury Bond yields last traded at 3.84%. Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are a hair above 4.5% this week. MBS yields are interest rates at which banks sell their loans into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bond programs. Rising yields mean higher consumer-mortgage rates.
The FNMA 30-year fixed 3.5% coupon, containing 3.75% – 4.125% mortgages, pretty much the benchmark or how rate sheets are priced these days is currently trading at 98.90. Basically each percent change in the price of the security translates to the price (or points paid or credited) of the mortgage rate. The higher the number (price), the better the rate.
In economic news this week; the reader’s digest version is it was a very light week in the economic news category with lackluster trading in the markets and an economy that continues to limp along an anemic growth rates.
Consumer credit rose in July, posting an annual growth rate of 4.4. Revolving credit, which is mostly made up of credit card loans, fell for a second month. Meanwhile, non-revolving credit, which covers loans for education and cars, among other areas, rose at an annual rate of 7.4% in July, down from 9.5% in June. Non-revolving credit has grown every month since August 2011. Credit is important to watch because it points to how real consumer spending is due to whether its borrowed or not.
A gauge of consumer sentiment, The University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters consumer-sentiment index fell to a preliminary September reading of 76.8, the lowest since April, from a final August reading of 82.1. The sentiment gauge fell in August from the highest level in six years, on grimmer views of current and coming economic conditions. This is not a good report and indicates that Americans are still cautious and their mood has worsened recently.
On the employment frontier; Job openings at U.S. workplaces fell to 3.69 million in July, the lowest level since January, from 3.87 million in June. Compared with same period last year, July’s job openings rose 5.4. That’s about 3.1 potential job seekers per opening. When the recession began in December 2007, there were less than two potential job seekers per opening. Consider this: One reason why employers are letting go of few workers is that staff levels are already so slim that there’s little fat to cut. The number of applications for unemployment benefits fell below 300,000 for the first time since 2006, but the government attributed the surprising plunge to computer-related glitches instead of a sudden improvement in the labor market.
Retail sales increased in August by the smallest amount since late spring 0.2. Americans remain cautious in their spending habits because of slow growth in wages and job creation. Companies hired fewer workers toward the end of summer. And that’s a big obstacle to growth since consumers are main driver of the economy. Barring a sudden pickup in spending, there’s little chance of the economy shifting into a higher gear before the end of the year. Retail sales have risen a mild 4.7% over the past 12 months, unadjusted for inflation. In the three years prior to the 2007-2009 recession, retail sales grew at a annual pace of 6.2%, 6.5% and 5.4%.
On the inflation front; wholesale prices rose in August, mainly because of higher costs of gasoline and vegetables, but there was little sign of rising inflationary pressure in the broader economy. The producer price index rose 0.3% in August after no change in July. Minus the volatile categories of food and energy, “core” wholesale prices were unchanged. The core index is viewed by the Federal Reserve as a more accurate gauge of inflationary pressure. Core prices have risen just 1.1% over the past 12 months, well below the central bank’s ceiling of 2.5% or less. A better measure of whether Americans are paying more for goods and services, the consumer price index, will be released next week.
The Government recorded a budget deficit of $148 billion in August, but remains on course for its first full-year shortfall below $1 trillion since 2008. The U.S. has run deficits of more than $1 trillion for every year of President Barack Obama’s presidency, though they have fallen slightly as revenue has increased through the recent mandatory sequester cuts. The shortfall for fiscal 2012 was $1.1 trillion. As you can see from the Debt clock above we are about to break the 17 TRILLION mark.
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