Stocks drop again this week – Markets were closed Friday in observance of Good Friday. In a shortened week stocks dropped again. While stock indexes are about 10% higher than they were before the election in November, stocks have dropped to mid February levels after reaching record highs in March. The Dow Jones Industrial Average on April, 13, 2017 was 20,453.25, down from last week’s close of 20,656.10. The S&P 500 closed the month at 2,328.95, down from 2,355.54 last Friday. The NASDAQ closed the month at 5,805.15, down from last week’s close of 5,877.81.
Treasury Bond yields lower again this week – The 10-year Treasury bond ended the week at 2.23%, down from 2.38% last week. The 30-year treasury yield ended the month at 2.89%, down from 3.00% last Friday.
Mortgage Rates – Mortgage rates dropped for the third straight week. The April 13, 2017 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30 year fixed mortgage rate average was 4.08%, down from 4.10% last week. The 15 year fixed was 3.34%, down slightly from 3.36% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.18%, about the same as 3.19% last week. Rates dropped Wednesday and Thursday so next week’s rates should be about 4% for a 30 year fixed.
Retail sales fall for second straight month – The Commerce Department reported that retail sales dropped 0.2% in March. This followed a 0.3% decrease in February which was the first decrease in a year. Last March retail increased 5.2% so a 0.2% decline this March has investors wondering just how strong the economy is.
Inflation becomes more tame in March – The Labor Department reported that it’s Consumer Price Index slipped 0.3% in March. It was the first decline in prices since January 2015. For the last 12 months through March The CPI rose 2.4%. That’s down from last month when prices were 2.7% higher than last February.