Stocks end week at record highs – Longest Bull Market in history – Stocks ended the week at record highs, for the first time since January, after Fed Chairman Powell released remarks stating that inflation is tame and The Fed no longer fears the economy will overheat and spike inflation. These remarks led investigators to assume he was signing that The Fed was nearing the end of interest rate hikes. The market also surpassed the bull market of the 1990s as the longest bull market ever hitting 3,450 days this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 25,790.35, up from 25,669.33 last week. It is up 4.3% year-to-date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,874.69, up from 2,850.13 last week. It’s up 7.1% year-to-date. The NASDAQ closed the week at 7,945.98, up from 7,816.33 last week. It’s up 15.1% year-to-date.
Treasury Bond Yields drop – The 10-year Treasury bond closed the week yielding 2.82%, down from 2.87% last week. The 30-year Treasury bond yield ended the week at 2.97%, down from 3.03% last week.
Mortgage rates slightly lower again this week – The August 23, 2018 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 4.51%, down from 4.53% last week. The 15-year fixed was 3.98%, down from 4.01% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.82%, down slightly from 3.86% last week.New home sales dip in July – The Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes dropped to the weakest pace in nine months in July. New home sales fell 1.7% in July from June’s levels to an annualized rate of 627,000 sales. Analysts expected the number to be closer to a rate of 645,000 sales. Prices increased just 1.8% from last July’s levels. Inventory of new homes for sale also increased to a 5.9 month supply in July. That was up from 5.7 months in June.
July U.S. Total existing-home sales – The National Association of Realtors reported that the number of sales of previously-owned homes fell for a fourth straight month in July. Existing-home sales, which include single-family homes, town-homes, condominiums, and co-ops fell 0.7% in July from June. Year-over-year sales were 1.5% below last July’s sales pace. That marked the fifth straight month of year-over-year declines in sales and the slowest pace since 2016. It should be noted that the number of existing- home sales in 2017 was a record number. Home prices continued to increase. The median price paid for an existing-home in July was 4.5% higher than last July. That marked the 77th straight month of year-over-year price increases. Nationally, housing inventory decreased 0.5% in July. The unsold inventory index stood at a 4.3 month supply, unchanged from last July’s level.
California existing home sales slow for third straight month in July – Prices higher – The California Association of Realtors reported that existing single family home sales totaled 406,920 in July on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis. That was down 0.9% from June and 3.4% below last July’s level when home sales totaled 421,460 on an annualized basis. The state-wide median price paid for a home was $591,460 in July, up 7.6% from last July. On a regional level, prices in Los Angeles County rose 5.5%, Orange County prices rose 5.6%, and Ventura County prices rose just 2.1% from July 2017. Inventory levels continued to increase. The unsold inventory index ticked up to a 3.3 month supply in July, up from 3.2% last July. A normal market has a 6 -7 month supply. Active listings increased for a fourth consecutive month after 33 months of declines, increasing 11.9% from last July.