SUMMER FUN… The Memorial Day long weekend kicks off summer, but Wall Street investors got started early on the summer fun, sending stock prices skyward in the week leading up to the holiday. There were solid gains in the markets for three days straight, and the broadly based S&P 500 closed the week for the first time ever above 1900! The Dow and the tech-heavy Nasdaq didn’t do too badly either, as all three major market indexes ended in positive territory for the year. It didn’t take much economic data to feed those good investor feelings.
A thin week of reports was highlighted by a nice rebound in New Home Sales for April. Existing Homes Sales did OK for the month, registering a smaller increase, but an increase nonetheless. The FOMC Minutes from the Fed’s April 30 meeting revealed that central bank members believe the economy has started to pick up following its slow moving winter performance. Unfortunately, Initial Unemployment Claims were up 28,000 for the week, to 326,000, although Continuing Claims dropped by 13,000, to 2.653 million.
The week ended with the Dow up 0.7%, to 16606; the S&P 500 up 1.2%, to 1901; and the Nasdaq up 2.3%, to 4186.
Bonds had a mixed week, though volumes were light going into the long weekend. The 30YR FNMA 4.0% bond we watch finished the week up .09, at $105.19. Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending May 22 showed average fixed mortgage rates lower for the fourth week in a row. This put fixed mortgage rates near a seven month low. Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up to the minute information.
DID YOU KNOW?… A recent study reported that 50% of consumers read emails on mobile devices exclusively, so it’s smart to include a phone number and make the subject line short.
CONSUMERS SPEND MORE, FEEL BETTER, GDP DOWN, PENDING HOME SALES UP… This holiday shortened week features some important economic reads. Friday’s April Personal Spending should show consumers still helping the 70% of the economy they drive. This was no doubt aided by the forecasted rise in Personal Income. All that earning and spending made folks feel better, as confirmed by Consumer Confidence and Michigan Consumer Sentiment, both predicted in solid territory for May. The GDP–2nd Estimate for Q1 is expected down, but April Pending Home Sales should be up.
The financial markets are closed Monday May 26 in observance of Memorial Day.