The Weekly Rap! Friday July 3rd, 2015

Happy Independence Day weekend!  Go blow something up!

The National Debt is currently: $18,290,639,132,587.00  is Higher by another 9 BILLION.  The interest pay-out alone on the debt is 244 Billion per year!  I post this so we will be aware of what we are leaving to our children.

Markets are closed today for Independence Day holiday.  The Markets were volatile this week, as the back-and-forth between Greece and its creditors fueled hopes about a possible deal. The Dow last traded at 17,730, lower by 170 pts over where it was last Friday.  The S&P 500 is trading at 2,076.  Gold is trading at $1,166 an ounce, while oil futures at $56.75 a barrel.  Gas prices, (Regular in El Dorado Hills, Costco, AM/PM), are at $2.81/Gal.

The FNMA 30-year fixed 3.0% coupon (interest rates at which banks sell their loans into Fannie Mae), containing 3.25% – 3.625% mortgage rates, the benchmark or how rate sheets are priced these days is currently trading at 99.16 worse in price by about .50 over where we were last week.  Our current trading range is about 98.5 to about 100.5 and we are testing the middle at 99.50.  Each .50 change in the price of the security translates to about 0.125 in rate.  Basically the 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 lower the rate.     

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Bubble Wrap, the packaging material popular with shippers and toddlers alike, is losing its pop.  The company that has made it since 1960, Sealed Air Corp., is rolling out a revamped version of its signature product.  Dubbed iBubble Wrap, the new packaging is sold in flat plastic sheets that the shipper fills with air using a custom-made pump. The inflated bubbles look much like traditional Bubble Wrap, with one key difference: They don’t burst when pressure is applied.  What’s up with that?  No more snap, crackle, pop? Wait, that’s another rant.  It’s just not going to be the same unwrapping a package anymore…

In economic news this week; other than the employment report, it was a lighter week of economic data, and the reader’s digest version is the economy is still trudging along.  The twists and turns in Greece’s financial situation continued to move the markets.  As in recent days, the moves were driven by short-term investors such as hedge funds, rather than longer-term investors making bets on individual stocks.  Consumer confidence is higher.  Pending home sales are at their highest level in over nine years.  The U.S. created 223,000 new jobs in June and the unemployment rate fell to the lowest level in more than seven years.

Consumer confidence according to the index released by The Conference Board, jumped in June.  Its index rose to 101.4 in June from a downwardly revised 94.6 in May. Both the present situation and expectations indexes advanced. “Over the past two months, consumers have grown more confident about the current state of business and employment conditions. In addition, they are now more optimistic about the near-term future, although sentiment regarding income prospects is little changed,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.

On the Real Estate front: Pending home sales in May rose to their highest level in over nine years, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. The pending home sales index rose 0.9% in May after a slight downward revision in April, the NAR said.  The index level of 112.6 (100 was the average level of activity in 2001) is the highest since April 2006 and up 10.4% from May 2014.  

The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite home price index showed that prices rose 1.1% in April, supported by the spring sales market.  There were gains in all the cities tracked by the Case-Shiller 20-city composite index.  Meanwhile, home prices in April were up 4.9% from a year earlier, slightly slower than annual growth of 5% seen in March.  It looks as though while home prices continue to rise across the country, the pace is not accelerating.  Seattle posted the fastest monthly growth, reaching 2.3%. The slowest was Boston, where monthly prices rose 0.3% in April.

On the Employment front:  The U.S. created 223,000 new jobs in June and the unemployment rate fell to the lowest level in more than seven years, but the latest employment report also showed the economy is still laboring the break out of a slow-growth rut that has characterized the six-year old recovery.  The economy has produced at least 200,000 jobs in 13 of the last 15 months and the gains in hiring have been widespread. Most industries added jobs in June, with the notable exception again of energy producers who have been bludgeoned by cheaper oil.

Yet the June jobs report also offered little evidence that the economy is expanding quite as fast as it was in the middle of 2014.  Employment gains for May and April were reduced, the wages of workers were disappointingly flat and the percentage of Americans in the labor force fell to the lowest level in 38 years, the government reported.  Even a decline in the unemployment rate to the lowest level since April 2008 was not all positive.  The jobless rate fell to 5.3% from 5.5% because 432,000 people, mostly young Americans who just graduated from school, left the labor force.

The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week rose 10,000 to 281,000 in late June to a five-week high.  Still, initial claims have stayed below the key 300,000 mark for 17 straight weeks, reflecting a record low level of layoffs and a steady increase in new hiring in a gradually improving labor market.  Continuing jobless claims climbed 15,000 to 2.26 million in the week ended June 20. These claims reflect people already receiving unemployment checks.

Useless Trivia:  And no, I did not fact-check every one of them.

A “jiffy” is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.

A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.

A snail can sleep for three years.

Al Capone’s business card said he was a used furniture dealer.

All 50 states are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of the $5 bill.


Fun for the day: 

Amazing, simple home remedies:

1. Avoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold the vegetables while you chop.

2. Avoid arguments with the females about lifting the toilet seat by using the sink.

3. For high blood pressure sufferers – simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure on your veins. Remember to set a timer.

4. A mouse trap placed on top of your alarm clock will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.

5. If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives; then you’ll be afraid to cough.

6. You need only two tools in life – WD-40- and duct tape. If it doesn’t move and should, the WD-40. If it shouldn’t move and does, use the duct tape.

7. If you can’t fix it with a hammer, you’ve got an electrical problem.


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Bill Bartok

Mortgage Advisor MLO# 445991

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Thank you!