Rates Increase on Tax Cuts

Mortgage interest rates increased this past week as Congress passed tax cuts with hopes for higher wages and GDP growth.  Economic data was mostly stronger than expected.  Economic data stronger than expected included the December NAHB Housing Market Index, November Housing Starts and Building Permits, the Q3 Current Account Deficit, November Existing Home Sales, the December Philadelphia Fed Business Index, the October FHFA Home Price Index, November Leading Economic Indicators, November Personal Spending, and November New Home Sales.  Existing Home Sales reached their best level since 2006.  For the first time in 11 years, more than half of those surveyed rated the economy as good or excellent.  Economic data weaker than expected included weekly jobless claims, the final look at Q3 GDP, November Durable Goods Orders, November Personal Income, and the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index.  Q3 GDP was up 3.2%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is currently at 24,734, up about 80 points on the week.  The crude oil spot price is currently at $58.22 per barrel, up about $1 per barrel on the week.  The Dollar weakened versus the Euro and strengthened versus the Yen on the week.

Next week look toward Wednesday’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Consumer Confidence, and Pending Home Sales Index, Thursday’s International Trade and Jobless Claims, and Friday’s Chicago Purchasing Managers Index as potential market moving events.  Markets are closed on Monday for Christmas.