Stock markets end week up 3.5% – Stocks rose this week making up the losses suffered last week after President Trump announced that he was going to place tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to help American metal manufacturers. Thursday, President Trump excluded Canada and Mexico from steel and aluminum tariffs. This was a deviation from last week’s pledge of tariffs on all steel and metal imports. With almost all companies reported, 75% of companies reported that their fourth quarter profits beat expectations. 313,000 new non-farm jobs were added to the economy in February. That exceed expectations by over 100,000! Wage gains, which scared the markets in January, moderated in February reducing the risk of inflation. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 25,335.74, up from last week’s close of 24,538.06. It is up 2.5% year-to-date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,786.57, up from 2,692.25 last week. It’s up 4.2% year-to-date. The NASDAQ closed at 7,569.81, up from 7,257.87 last week. It is up 9.5% year-to-date.
Treasury Bond Yields – The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 2.90%, up slightly from 2.86% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 3.16%, up slightly from 3.14% last week. We watch bond rates because mortgage rates follow bond rates.
Mortgage Rates slightly higher this week – The March 8, 2018 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 4.46%, up slightly from last week’s 4.43%. The 15-year fixed was 3.94%, up from 3.90% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.63%, down from 3.62% last week.