Stocks dropped across the board this week. The Dow, now in negative territory for the year, dropped more than 500 points. Continued tensions on trade and tariffs caused investors to fear that a looming trade war could cause a global slow down and higher inflation. For example, two weeks ago, the Trump Administration announced $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, and China quickly followed by announcing a similar amount of tariffs on U.S. products. This week, Trump announced tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese goods, which was quickly followed by China targeting another $200 billion in U.S. goods. Even Canada announced tariffs on U.S. imports this week, in retaliation on tariffs we placed on them in late May. It should be noted that almost none of these tariffs have actually been placed in effect. It may be posturing in order to cut a deal, as negotiations are ongoing. Many of these tariffs are scheduled to go into effect on July 6. We shall wait and see.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 24,580.49, down from 25,090.48 last week. It is down 0.6% year-to-date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,764,88, down from 2,779.66. It’s up 3% year-to-date. The NASDAQ closed the week at 7,692.82, down from 7,746.38 last week. It’s up 11.4% year-to-date.
Treasury Bond Yields down slightly this week – The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 2.90%, down slightly from 2.93% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 3.04%, almost unchanged from 3.05% last week. We watch bond rates because mortgage rates follow bond rates.
Mortgage Rates lower this week – The June 21, 2018 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 4.57%, down from 4.62% last week. The 15-year fixed was 4.04%, down slightly from 4.07% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.83%, unchanged from 3.83% last week.
California adds fewer jobs, but the unemployment rate remained at an all time low in May – The California Employment Development Department reported that California employers added 5,500 new jobs in May. This was down from a robust April, where 25,600 jobs were added. While this suggests that job growth slowed in May, experts were quick to point out that the state has had many months where job growth has fluctuated similar to April and May, so nobody should assume that job growth is stalling. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.2%, the lowest reading since the state began its current system of its unemployment reading in the 1970’s.
Fewer California existing homes sold in May, as price increases accelerated – The California Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales totaled 409,270 in May on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate. That was down 1.8% from April, and down 4.6% from May 2017’s sales pace. The state-wide median price in May was $600,860, up 2.8% from April and 9.2% higher than last May. On a more local level, the median price increased 9.1% year-over-year in Los Angeles County, 5.4% in Orange County, and 5.3% in Ventura County. The unsold inventory index in May stood at a 3 month supply of housing for sale, up from 2.9 months in May 2017.