The National Association of Realtors offered some good news and some bad news last week. While existing home sales decreased 3.3% in April, they were up 6.1% from a year ago. Along with the annual improvement in the pace of resales, the median home price rose 8.9% year-over-year to $219,400. April also saw a 20.2% leap in housing starts, taking groundbreaking to a high unseen since November 2008; the Commerce Department also noted a 10.1% increase in building permits last month.1,2
CONSUMER PRICES BARELY RISE
April brought just an 0.1% advance for the Consumer Price Index, a development influenced by a 1.7% fall in gasoline costs. (The average price for a gallon of unleaded was $2.73 as of Memorial Day weekend, nearly a dollar lower than a year ago.) In the bigger picture, the headline CPI declined 0.2% year-over-year. The Labor Department did report an 0.3% increase in the core CPI (which excludes energy and food prices); it rose 1.8% in a year. 3
GOLD SLIPS, OIL STAYS UNDER $60 A BARREL
With the dollar recovering from a brief slump and Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen commenting Friday that the Federal Reserve is still likely to raise interest rates this year, metals were hurt last week. Gold lost 1.7% on the COMEX, silver 2.9% and copper 3.9%. Oil settled at $59.72 on the NYMEX Friday, moving only $0.03 higher on the week.4
A MINOR ADVANCE FOR THE S&P 500
A fairly placid trading week saw the broad benchmark rise 0.16% to 2,126.06. From May 18-22, the Dow lost 0.22% while the Nasdaq gained 0.81%. The Nasdaq settled Friday at 5,089.36, the Dow at 18,232.02. 5
THIS WEEK: U.S. financial markets are closed Monday as the nation observes Memorial Day. Wall Street interprets reports on April new home sales and hard goods orders Tuesday, along with earnings from AutoZone, TiVo and Workday. On Wednesday, Tiffany, Palo Alto Networks, Toll Brothers, Costco, Popeye’s, Valspar and Michael Kors report results. Thursday, investors will eye the latest weekly jobless claims report and NAR’s report on April pending home sales; earnings from Abercrombie & Fitch, Express and GameStop will also arrive. On Friday, the second estimate of first quarter GDP is announced and Big Lots presents Q1 results.
|% CHANGE||Y-T-D||1-YR CHG||5-YR AVG||10-YR AVG|
|REAL YIELD||5/22 RATE||1 YR AGO||5 YRS AGO||10 YRS AGO|
|10 YR TIPS||0.34%||0.35%||1.33%||1.65%|
Sources: wsj.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov – 5/22/156,7,8,9
Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. These returns do not include dividends. 10-year TIPS real yield = projected return at maturity given expected inflation.
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1 – nasdaq.com/article/us-existinghome-sales-decline-33-in-april-20150521-01387 [5/22/15]
2 – marketwatch.com/story/housing-starts-surge-20-in-april-2015-05-19 [5/19/15]
3 – usatoday.com/story/money/2015/05/22/consumer-prices-april/27737861/ [5/22/15]
4 – proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/61602/gold-drops-01-to-settle-at-1204-wti-drops-17-to-5972–61602.html [5/22/15]
5 – markets.on.nytimes.com/research/markets/usmarkets/usmarkets.asp [5/22/15]
6 – markets.wsj.com/us [5/22/15]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=5%2F22%2F14&x=0&y=0 [5/22/15]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=5%2F22%2F14&x=0&y=0 [5/22/15]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=5%2F22%2F14&x=0&y=0 [5/22/15]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=5%2F21%2F10&x=0&y=0 [5/22/15]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=5%2F21%2F10&x=0&y=0 [5/22/15]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=5%2F21%2F10&x=0&y=0 [5/22/15]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=5%2F23%2F05&x=0&y=0 [5/22/15]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=5%2F23%2F05&x=0&y=0 [5/22/15]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=5%2F23%2F05&x=0&y=0 [5/22/15]
8 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyield [5/22/15]
9 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyieldAll [5/22/15]