The labor market remains healthy

Weekly jobless claims ticked higher, but the labor market remains healthy. Initial claims for unemployment insurance for the week showed an increase of 15,000 from the prior week to 258,000. Claims remain below 300,000. This marks the 80th straight week below 300,000, the longest stretch since 1970. (LPL Research) New single-family home sales moved to…

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Rising housing costs

Nike reported earnings of 68 cents per share for the quarter on total sales of $8.4 billion. Revenue for the Nike brand was up 7%. Competition from Under Armour and Adidas are increasingly pressuring Nike’s business. Particularly in the U.S. (CNBC) Rising housing costs are shrinking demand for home loans or pushing buyers toward cheaper,…

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The streak has ended

The streak has ended. The S&P 500 fell over 1% yesterday for the first time in 109 consecutive days. That falls short of the 110-day streak in early 1995, with the 112-day streak in 1985 next on the list. You have to go back to the 1960s for a longer streak. (LPL Research) The University…

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Improving economic data points to more rate hikes

Business inventories increased by 0.3% in January from the previous month. Sales increased 0.2%. Inventories rose at retailers by 0.8% while sales increased 0.5%. Inventory growth was just 0.2% for the manufacturing sector. (Commerce Department) Improving economic data points to more rate hikes. Data on initial claims for unemployment insurance, housing starts for February, and…

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Mortgage interest rates are at their highest level since 2014

Mortgage interest rates are at their highest level since 2014 with the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages at 4.46%. Total mortgage application volume rose 3.1% last week from the previous week, but remains 12% lower than a year ago. Refinance volume was 4% higher this week, but is 27% lower than last year. Adjustable-rate…

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Does a lack of volatility mean complacency?

US household net worth grew to a record $92.8 trillion in the last quarter of 2016, due in large part to gains in the stock market, according to the Federal Reserve‚Äôs quarterly financial accounts report. Producer price inflation slowed in February, but the trend pointed to a steady building up of inflation pressures. The producer…

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