Stock markets up slightly for the month – Better than expected third quarter earnings caused the markets to reach near record highs until the final days of the month when a disappointing first quarter GDP report caused markets to drop. The GDP Report was released April 29. The dow dropped 74 points April 29th and 195 points on April 30th. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the month at 17,840.52, up from 17,776.12 on March 31. The S&P 500 closed the month at 2,085.51, up from the March 31 close of 2067.89. The NASDAQ closed the month at 4,941.42, also up from 4,900.80 on March 31.
Stocks rebounded on Friday May 1. The Dow closed the week at 18,024.06, down from last Friday’s close of 18,080.14. The Nasdaq closed at5,005.39, down from last Friday’s close of 5,092.94. The S&P 500 closed at 2,108.29, also down from last week’s close of 2,117.69. There was no news that caused this rebound. Investors just felt that stocks oversold Wednesday and Thursday.
Treasury Bond yields are up for the month – The 10 year Treasury bond yield closed the month at 2.03%, up from March’s close of 1.94%. The 30 year treasury bond yield was 2.75%, up from February’s close of 2.54%.
Bond yields rose further on Friday May 1 to end the week higher. The 10 treasury bond yield closed at 2.12%, up from 1.93% last week. The 30 year closed at 2.82%, up from 2.62% last Friday.
Mortgage Rates rise about ¼% in April – The 30 year fixed rates ended the month around 4% for loans up to $417,000, and around 4.25% for loans over $417,000. The 15 year fixed rate loans are about 3.25% for loans up to $417,000, higher loan amounts have rates that are around 3.5%. 5 Year-ARM and 1 Year-ARM mortgages are both around 2.8%.
Existing home sales and prices Jump in March – The California Association of Realtors reported that the number of existing homes sold in March increased 6.3% from February. Year over year home sales were 7.3% above last March. C.A.R. also reported that the statewide Californiamedian home price in March increased 9.2% from February. Existing home sales include single family homes, condos, mobile homes, and co-ops. They also reported that the unsold inventory index dropped from a 5 month supply in February to a 3.8 month supply in March. A 6-7 month supply is considered a normal market. The National Association of Realtors reported that March US home sales were up 6.1% month over month from February and 10.4% year over year from last March. The Case-Schiller Home Price Index reported that Los Angeles home prices rose 5.8% year over year in March. Case-Schiller tracks 20 major cities in its index report.
New home sales plunge in March – The number of new homes sold in the U.S. unexpectedly dropped 11.4% in March from February. Most of the drop in new home sales were attributed to a decline of over 33% in sales in the north east portion of the country.
California jobless rate falls – California’s employers added 38,000 jobs in March. The state’s unemployment rate fell to 6.5% in March from 6.7% in February, the lowest level in 7 years. One year ago the state’s unemployment rate was 7.9%.
March U.S. job growth at 15 month low – Experts were stunned when The Labor Department reported that US employers added just 126,000 new jobs in March. This was about ½ of what analyst’s expectations. This was a shock after 295,000 jobs were added in February, and broke a streak of 12 month of job gains of over 200,000. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.5%. April figures
will be released the first Friday May 8, 2015.
U.S. economic growth slows to 0.2% – The U.S. Commerce Department reported that the Gross Domestic Product, the broadest measure of economic growth, grew at an annual rate of just 0.2% in the first quarter of 2015. The economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.2% in the fourth quarter of 2014 and expanded at a rate of 2.4% for the full year in 2014. Growth was expected to slow to 1% due to unusually poor weather in the Northeast, but a 0.2% increase caught experts by surprise and caused stocks to sell off the final two days of April.
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