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Employers add 196,000 new jobs in March

The Department of Labor Statistics reported that U.S. employers added 196,000 new jobs in March. This exceeded analysts expectations of 175,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate held at 3.8%, a 50-year low. Average hourly wages grew 3.2% from last March. 

Stocks continue to rise

This year has begun with a booming stock market. Markets are already up 13% to 17% year-to-date. The U.S. economy, which appeared to be losing steam just a few months ago, is taking off again. Overseas economies, which seemed to be slowing, are also rebounding. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 26,424.99, up 1.9% from 25,928.68 last week. It’s up 13.3% year-to-date. 

The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,892.74, up  2.1% from 2,834.40 last week. It’s up 15.4% year-to-date. 

The NASDAQ closed the week at 7,938.69, up 2.7% from 7,729.32 last week. The NASDAQ is up 16.9% year-to-date. 

Treasury bond yields higher after dropping for 14 weeks 

The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 2.50%, up from 2.41% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 2.91%, up from 2.81% last week. We watch treasury bond yields because mortgage rates follow bond yields. 

30-year mortgage rates remain at lowest levels since 2017

The April 4, 2019, Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 4.08%, almost unchanged from 4.06% last week. The 15-year fixed was 3.56%, unchanged from 3.57% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.66%, down from 3.75% last week.


Stock market terms defined

  • ARM – “A 5-year ARM is a loan with a fixed rate for the first five years. After that, it has an adjustable rate.” (LendingTree.com
  • Down Jones Industrial Average – “An index that tracks 30 large, publicly-owned companies trading on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ.” (Investopedia.com)
  • Federal Reserve System – “Often referred to as the Federal Reserve or simply “the Fed,” is the central bank of the United States. It was created by Congress to provide the nation with a safer, more flexible, and more stable monetary and financial system.” (FederalReserve.gov)
  • Freddie Mac – (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation or FHLMC) “A government-owned corporation that buys mortgages and packages them into mortgage-backed securities.” (TheBalance.com)
  • Mortgage – “An agreement that allows you to borrow money from a bank or similar organization (such as a credit union) by offering something of value, esp. in order to buy a house or apartment” (Cambridge Dictionary
  • NASDAQ – Acronym for the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations. “A global electronic marketplace for buying and selling securities, as well as the benchmark index for U.S. technology stocks.” (Investopedia.com)
  • S&P 500 – “The S&P 500 index is a basket of 500 of the largest U.S. stocks, weighted by market capitalization. The index is widely considered to be the best indicator of how large U.S. stocks are performing on a day-to-day basis.” (Motley Fool)
  • Stock market – “The stock market is where investors buy and sell shares in public companies.” (NerdWallet.com)
  • Treasury bond yield – “Treasury yields are the total amount of money you earn by owning U.S. Treasury bills, notes, or bonds. The U.S. Treasury Department sells them to pay for the U.S. debt. … Treasury yield prices are based on supply and demand.” (The Balance.com)

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