Rates Improve Slightly on Mixed Economic Data
Mortgage interest rates improved slightly this past week as economic data was mixed. Economic data stronger than expected included the February Consumer Confidence Index, Weekly Jobless Claims, January Personal Income, the February ISM Manufacturing Index, February Auto and Truck Sales, and the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. Weekly Jobless Claims fell to their lowest level since 1969. Economic data weaker than expected included January New Home Sales, January Durable Goods Orders, the January U.S. Trade Deficit, the December FHFA Housing Price Index, the February Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, January Pending Home Sales, and January Construction Spending. Based upon testimony to Congress by Fed Chair Powell, it appears that the Fed is still on track to increase the Fed Funds Rate three times this year. President Trump is threatening tariffs on China’s exports of steel and aluminum which may increase inflation.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is currently at 24,278, down over 1,000 points on the week. The crude oil spot price is currently at $60.46 per barrel, down over $3 per barrel on the week. The Dollar weakened versus the Euro and Yen on the week.
Next week look toward Monday’s ISM Services Sector Index, Tuesday’s Factory Orders, Wednesday’s ADP Employment Report, International Trade, and Productivity and Costs, Thursday’s Jobless Claims, and Friday’s employment report for February and Wholesale Trade as potential market moving events.