| Brought to you by Catherine Darwin For the week of december 28, 2020 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “A goal is a dream with a deadline.”—Napoleon Hill, American self-help author NATIONAL MARKET UPDATE After five months of gains, Existing Home Sales slipped 2.5% in November, but are still up 25.8% from a year ago and 16.1% above pre-pandemic levels. The problem is inventory, the lowest it’s been since 1999. Cooling off in November, New Home Sales fell 11.0% to a 0.841 million annual rate, yet 8.7% above January’s pre-pandemic high. Problem here is we need more finished new homes available for sale. Purchase mortgage applications are up 26% year-over-year. The third quarter saw the biggest first-time buyer market in two decades, up 15.7% the past year alone. Low mortgage rates are keeping homes affordable. REVIEW OF LAST WEEK WINTERY MIX… Winter began Monday and by early market close on Thursday, the final trading day of Christmas week, stocks ended mixed, the blue-chip Dow and tech-heavy Nasdaq higher, the broadly-based S&P 500 lower. |
This matched investors’ mixed emotions. Concerns that potential coronavirus shutdowns could stymie the recovery were balanced by optimism brought on when lawmakers at last agreed on a pandemic relief bill. Final Q3 GDP came in at a 33.4% annual growth rate. We still have a long way to go to get back to where we were before the shutdowns and slower growth is forecast. But initial jobless claims fell by 89,000, continuing claims by 170,000. The week ended with the Dow UP 0.1%, to 30,200; the S&P 500 down 0.2%, to 3,703; and the Nasdaq UP 0.4% to 12,805. Bonds ended higher overall, with a sleepy climb for Treasuries, but the UMBS 3.0% dipped .10, to $104.67. The national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate ticked down to another record low in Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up-to-the-minute information. DID YOU KNOW?… Because of the world’s time zones, the first country to ring in the New Year is Kiribati, located in the Central Pacific. Interestingly, this nation is also known as Christmas Island. THIS WEEK’S FORECAST PENDING HOME SALES DOWN A BIT, BUT JOBLESS CLAIMS TOO… They’re forecasting contracts on existing homes were signed at a slightly slower annual rate in November, measured by the Pending Home Sales index. Initial Unemployment Claims should continue their path lower. Thursday, New Year’s Eve, stock markets are open as usual until 4 p.m., but bond markets will close early at 2. All financial markets will close Friday, New Year’s Day. Happy New Year to all! 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. The Fed watches the data, and economists feel it will be quite some time before the central bankers see the low pre-pandemic unemployment level and higher inflation that will move them to hike rates. 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: CONSENSUS Jan 27 0.00%-0.25%
Mar 17 0.00%-0.25% Apr 28 0.00%-0.25%
Probability of change from current policy: AFTER FOMC MEETING ON: CONSENSUS Jan 27 0% Mar 17 0% Apr 28 0% BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK Video calls are great, but computer screen exhaustion can ruin your productivity. Send emails or make phone calls whenever you can. Also, group the video calls you must make—for example, clients in the morning, colleagues in the afternoon. Catherine Darwin
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Austin, TX 78746 Office:(512) 450-1222
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