209,000 new jobs added in July – Figures released from The Department of Labor reported that U.S. employers added 209,000 new jobs in July. This beat analysts expectations of 183,000 jobs. Job growth, which slowed earlier in the year, rebounded in June and July with the economy adding about 440,000 new jobs in 60 days and about 1.1 million new jobs for the first 7 months of 2017. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.3%, its lowest level since March 2001, from 4.4% in June. Average hourly wages grew 2.5% from last July.
GDP up in second quarter. The gross domestic product, which is the broadest measure of the economy, was up 2.6% in the second quarter of 2017. That was in line with expectations, but represented a rebound from just a 1.4% increase in the first quarter where it looked like the economy was slowing. While still below the growth of 3% the government is shooting for it was a positive sign for investors.
Dow ends week at record high – Solid earnings has propelled stocks bringing all indexes at or near record highs. With about 75% of companies reporting, earnings are up 10.1% year over year, beating estimates of a 6.4% increase. Other news had a rebound in the GDP in the second quarter, higher consumer confidence, and positive news from Europe and Asia whose economies have strengthened. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the week at 22,092.82, up from 21,830.21 last week. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,476.83, up from its close last week of 2,472.10. The NASDAQ closed the week at 6,351.56, down from last week’s close of 6,374.78.
Bond yields drop slightly this week- The 10-year Treasury bond closed the week at 2.27%, down from 2.30% last week. The 30-year treasury yield ended the week at 2.84%, down from 2.89% last week. Mortgage rates follow treasury bond yields so we watch bond yields carefully.
Mortgage Rates remain low – The August 3, 2017 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 3.93%, unchanged from 3.92% last week. The 15-year fixed was 3.18%, down from 3.20% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.15% down from 3.18% last week.