Stocks ended the week slightly
Gains in January and February marked the best two-month start of a year since 1987
This week, the March 1 deadline for a deal with China on trade was officially extended as both sides announced that progress has been made. The fourth quarter GDP (gross domestic product) – the broadest measure of economic output – came in at 2.6%.
It was feared in the fourth quarter of 2018 that tariffs, slowing economies overseas, and higher interest rates were slowing the economy. While 2.6% did represent a slowing in the economy, it was slightly higher than what analysts expected. For the full year, GDP rose 2.9%.
For some reason, treasury bond investors pulled back on purchases, and yields rose about .10% this week. That will cause mortgage rates to rise about 1/8-1/4% after almost three months of steadily dropping.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 26,026.32, basically unchanged from 26,031.81 last week. It’s up 11.6% year-to-date.
The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,803.69, up 0.4% from 2,792.67 last week. It’s up 11.8% year-to-date. The NASDAQ closed the week at 7,595.35, up 0.9% from 7,527.54 last week. The NASDAQ is up 14.5% year-to-date.
The treasury bond yields went up sharply this week. The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 2.76%, up sharply from 2.65% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 3.13%, up from 3.02% last week. We watch treasury bond yields because mortgage rates follow bond yields.
The 30-year mortgage rate is at the lowest level in one year, but rates rose at the end of the week.
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