Rates Improve Slightly on Mixed Economic Data

Mortgage interest rates improved slightly this past week on mixed economic data.  Economic data stronger than expected included the February Treasury Budget, January Business Inventories, weekly jobless claims, February Import Prices, February Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, and January JOLTS Job Openings.  Consumer Sentiment increased to a 14-year high.  Economic data weaker than expected included February Retail Sales, February Export Prices, the March Philadelphia Fed Business Index, the March NAHB Housing Market Index, February Housing Starts, and February Building Permits.  The February Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Producer Price Index (PPI) were up 0.2%, in line with expectations.  Year over year, CPI was up 2.2% and PPI was up 2.8%.  The Treasury auctioned $62 billion of 3 Year Notes, 10 Year Notes, and 30 Year Bonds which were met with solid demand.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average is currently at 24,970, down about 360 points on the week.  The crude oil spot price is currently at $61.25 per barrel, down slightly on the week.  The Dollar strengthened versus the Euro and weakened versus the Yen on the week.


Next week look toward Wednesday’s Existing Home Sales and FOMC meeting announcement, Thursday’s Jobless Claims, FHFA House Price Index, PMI Composite Flash, and Leading Economic Indicators, and Friday’s Durable Goods Orders and New Home Sales as potential market moving events.  The Fed is expected to increase the Fed Funds rate by 0.25% after its FOMC meeting.