Mortgage interest rates improved slightly on the week on the Fed FOMC Minutes from the July meeting. The minutes called into question whether the Fed will begin tapering its balance sheet in September as well as whether the Fed will increase the Fed Funds rate this year due to continued soft inflation. Economic data, though, was mostly stronger than expected. Economic data stronger than expected included July Retail Sales, July Export Prices, the August Empire State Manufacturing Index, June Business Inventories, the August NAHB Housing Market Index, weekly jobless claims, the August Philadelphia Fed Business Index, and the August University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index reached its highest level since January. Economic data weaker than expected included July Import Prices, July Housing Starts, July Building Permits, and July Industrial Production.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is currently at 21,693, down over 160 points on the week. The crude oil spot price is currently at $46.85 per barrel, down almost $2 per barrel on the week. The Dollar weakened versus the Yen and strengthened versus the Euro on the week.
Next week look toward Tuesday’s FHFA House Price Index, Wednesday’s New Home Sales, Thursday’s Jobless Claims, PMI Composite Flash, and Existing Home Sales, and Friday’s Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium and Durable Goods Orders as potential market moving events.