>> Market Update
QUOTE OF THE WEEK…“Every situation properly perceived, becomes an opportunity.”–Helen Schucman
INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE…Ms. Schucman was the Columbia University clinical psychologist who “scripted” A Course in Miracles.
Many are hoping for a miracle to send the housing market into recovery,
but Ms. Schucman says we only need to look at a situation properly to
find an opportunity. A proper look at the housing market shows
there’s plenty of opportunity, in the form of unbelievable
affordability, tremendous values and historic mortgage rates. These opportunities are there for those who take a long view and close their ears to the naysayers, who have been noisy of late.
Plenty of naysaying came after last Thursday’s July Existing Homes Sales, down 3.5% to a 4.67 million annual rate.
This was puzzling given recent strong Pending Home Sales (homes under
contract). The National Association of Realtors said cancelled contracts
were at higher levels the past two months, with buyers rattled over the
debt debate. Yet Existing Home Sales are up 21% over a year ago. And Housing Starts are up 9.8% over a year ago, at 604,000 annually, although dipping 1.5% in July.
BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK…When
you’re striving to innovate, don’t be afraid to fail. To innovate, you
have to attempt things that haven’t been done before, so you very well
may fail on the way to creating something great.
>> Review of Last Week
TOUGH DAY AT THE OFFICE…Investors
had a hard time making money last week as Wall Street was haunted by
two specters–European debt and fears of a U.S. recession. French and
German leaders met, but came up with no definitive solution to European
banking problems, while Eurozone GDP was up just 0.2% in Q2.
Investors worried about these conditions infecting our shores and sold
off stocks, sending market indexes down for the fourth straight week.
Pundits opined we may dip back into recession.
Stock market volatility might make people hold back spending, which could cause a recession. But the economic data shows clear evidence we’re growing, albeit slowly. Industrial production was up better than expected in July, while capacity utilization climbed to 77.5%. Weekly chain store sales have been up 3.5%-4.5%. Rail car traffic is up year-over-year. Steel Production was up for the week. Core CPI consumer inflation is up only 1.8% year-over-year. Corporations are financially in very good shape. None of this shows the economy falling off a cliff.
For the week, the Dow ended down 4.0%, to 10818; the S&P 500 was down 4.7%, to 1124; and the Nasdaq was down 6.6%, to 2342.
flight to safety was more like a stampede into the bond market, pushing
prices up. The FNMA 3.5% bond we’re now tracking closed Friday at
$101.14, up .09 for the week. Freddie Mac’s survey showed national average rates on both fixed and adjustable rate mortgages hitting new record lows.
DID YOU KNOW?…This
week’s GDP Deflator measures the price changes of newly produced goods
during Q2. Economists use it to account for inflation, so GDP can be
compared to other time periods in constant dollars.
>> This Week’s Forecast
NEW HOME SALES, Q2 GDP, CONSUMER FEELINGS…Observers expect Tuesday’s New Home Sales numbers to hold for July, coming in just a tad below June. Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims should show a sign of hope, with that number forecast a little lower.
Friday, all eyes will be on the second estimate of Q2 GDP. Economists predict slightly less growth than originally expected. Final Michigan Consumer Sentiment for August should be at a subdued level. No surprise there. Finally, everyone should listen to Chairman Bernanke’s comments at the Fed’s Jackson Hole Conference.
>> Federal Reserve Watch
Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months…As
far as the Fed is concerned; rate hikes are off the table through the
first half of 2013. Economists are taking this as a given for now.
Rate as of 08/23/2011
30 year fixed – 4.25%, (4.345% APR)
15 year fixed – 3.5%, (3.665% APR)
FHA 30 year fixed – 4.0%, (4.846% APR)
VA 30 year fixed – 4.25%, (4.326% APR)
based on SFR purchase, 740 credit scores, 20% down on Conventional,
3.5% down on FHA, zero down on VA. Rates are subject to change.
Have a great week!