The National Debt is currently: $17,325,279,110,849.00 this might be a first but it is actually lower by about 16 BILLION. I post this so we will be aware of what we are leaving the next generation.
The Dow last traded at 15,722 right where it was last Friday. The S&P 500 is trading at 1,787. Gold is trading at $1,262 an ounce, while oil futures at $98.67 a barrel. Gas prices, (Regular in El Dorado Hills, Costco, AM/PM), are at $3.19/Gal.
Yields on 10-year Treasury notes, which move inversely to prices, last traded at 2.66%. 30-year Treasury Bond yields last traded at 3.64%. Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are about 4.50% 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 101.53 about where we were last Friday at this time. 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 we are beginning to see what looks to be another slowdown in the economic recovery at the end of last year and the beginning of this year.
U.S. stock mutual funds and exchange-traded funds last week together saw withdrawals of $18.8 billion, their biggest weekly outflows on record. Most of this flowed into Bonds. A correction in the stock market usually means a “flight-to-quality” where money flows from stocks to bonds, which in turn drives down rates.
American manufacturers said orders from customers declined in January after hitting a more than four-year high in December, but they blamed it largely on unusually cold and snowy weather last month. The Institute for Supply Management index dropped to 51.3% from 56.5% in December, marking the lowest level in eight months. Read ISM report. On a positive note, any reading over 50 indicates that more manufacturers are expanding instead of contracting. The index has been above 50% for 14 straight months.
Construction spending rose 0.1% in December, led by private projects, the Commerce Department reported. Private-construction spending rose 1% in December, with a 2.6% increase for residential projects and a 0.7% decline for nonresidential projects. Meanwhile, public-construction spending fell 2.3% in December.
The trade deficit climbed 12% in December, reversing the sharp drop in November, mainly because the U.S. sold fewer heavy-duty goods such as airplanes to other countries. A larger trade deficit, generally a negative for the economy, results when the U.S. buys more goods and services from trading partners and sells fewer to them. U.S. exports dipped 2.2% in December to $191.3 billion while imports rose 1.6% to $230 billion. U.S. petroleum exports, meanwhile, hit another record high of $13.5 billion. The U.S. is quickly becoming an oil-exporting giant again thanks to new technologies, and the surge in production has been one of the chief reasons for a declining U.S. trade gap.
On the Real Estate front: In our local area of Eldorado Hills to and including Placerville through January 15 2014: new listings are up 2% and 41% for the past year. Sales are down 8.6% for the month and down 28% for the year. Average price per sq foot is down 1.7% from December but higher by 10.8% for the year. Homes on average are selling for 94% of original list price. Average sales prices are down 6.2% from December but higher by 11.8% from last year. Based on closed sales we are currently at 4 months of inventory, the highest of the past year. Based on pending sales we are at 2.8 months. It would make sense then that we are also at the highest days-on-market of the year at 65. This number is higher by 58% over December.
On the Employment front: The U.S. added 113,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rate dipped to 6.6% from 6.7%, the Labor Department reported. The expectation was for an increase of 190,000 non-farm jobs. The second straight disappointing employment report suggests that unusually cold and snowy weather in the past two months is not the chief cause of a slowdown in job creation. In December, the economy added just 75,000 jobs, a meager gain that many economites had initially blamed on bad weather. The Government also eliminated the most jobs in 15 months falling by 29,000 in January, including a 9,000 decline in Postal workers. It was the biggest drop in government jobs since October 2012.
The private sector once again generated all the employment growth, adding 142,000 jobs in January. That’s up sharply from 89,000 in December but well below the norm over the past year. One worrisome sign is a sudden freeze in hiring in health care, one of the nation’s fastest growing industries over the past two decades. Health-care providers cut jobs for the first time on record, raising questions about whether the roll-out of Obamacare is roiling the industry.
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