"The secret of success is to do the common thing uncommonly well.”—John D. Rockefeller Jr., American financier and philanthropist
NATIONAL MARKET UPDATE
The Pending Home Sales index of contracts signed on existing homes surged 44.3% in May, the biggest monthly gain since its 2001 launch. All regions were up, though the overall index is still down a smidge annually.
The National Association of Realtors: “The outlook has significantly improved, as new home sales are expected to be higher this year than last, and annual existing home sales are now projected to be down by less that 10%."
Plus: “all figures ‘light up’ in 2021, with positive GDP, employment, housing starts and home sales.” Next year’s NAR forecast calls for sales of 5.35 million existing homes and 800,000 new ones.
REVIEW OF LAST WEEK
ECONOMY RECOVERS, STOCK MARKET TOO... Economic data has been encouraging for a while, but last week's blow-out reports showed investors the economy really is headed back up, and stocks responded in kind.
Growing at the fastest rate ever, an astonishing 4.8 million new Nonfarm Payrolls were added in June, shattering forecasts, and dropping the unemployment rate more than two percentage points.
With the largest monthly gain in more than 40 years, the ISM Manufacturing Index revealed that key economic sector was growing again in June. Economists say full recovery still is a long way off, but there's no question it has begun.
The week ended with the Dow UP 3.2%, to 25,827; the S&P 500 UP 4.0%, to 3,130; and the Nasdaq UP 4.6%, to 10,208.
Cautious investors maintained interest in bonds, supporting prices nicely. The UMBS 3.5% ended up 0.05, at $105.22. In Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate set a new all-time record low. Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up-to-the-minute information.
DID YOU KNOW?... Compared to a year ago, home prices are higher, but monthly payments are lower, thanks to the drop in mortgage rates. The median asking price on homes listed in May 2020 was $18,000 higher than May 2019, yet the median monthly payment fell to $1,170 from $1,225 a year ago.
THIS WEEK'S FORECAST
SERVICES REBOUNDS, JOBLESS CLAIMS RECEDE, INFLATION OK... The economy's services sector, providing most of our jobs, should climb back close to a growth read with the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index. Going the other way, happily, is the forecast for Initial Unemployment Claims, while the Producer Price Index (PPI) is expected to show wholesale prices remain under control.
NOTE: Weaker economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and higher loan rates.
FEDERAL RESERVE WATCH
Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months... Virtually every Fed watcher on earth expects the central bank will not hike current rock-bottom rates until well in the future. Note: In the lower chart, a 0% probability of change is a 100% certainty the rate will stay the same.
Current Fed Funds Rate: 0%-0.25%
AFTER FOMC MEETING ON:
Probability of change from current policy:
AFTER FOMC MEETING ON:
BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK
When you switch attention between tasks, you lose focus. Instead of multitasking, focus on one thing at a time, long enough to complete it. Studies found you’ll actually get more done than when you multitask, and with higher-quality results.