Stock markets hover near all time highs

In a holiday-shortened week, stocks closed almost unchanged. About 1/3 of companies have reported first-quarter earnings so far. Most of those companies had a strong first quarter. China’s economic numbers have come in stronger than expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 26,559.54, up 0.6% from 26,412.30 last week. It’s up 13.9% year-to-date. 

The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,905.03, down 0.1% from 2,907.41 last week. It’s up 15.9% year-to-date. 

The NASDAQ closed the week at 7,998.06, up 0.2% from 7,984.16 last week. The NASDAQ is up 20.5% year-to-date. 

Treasury bond yields unchanged this week 

The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 2.57%, almost unchanged from 2.56% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 2.96%, also almost unchanged from 2.97% last week. We watch treasury bond yields because mortgage rates follow bond yield yields. 

Mortgage rates higher this week

The April 18, 2019, Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 4.17%, up slightly from 4.12% last week. The 15-year fixed was 3.62%, almost unchanged from 3.60% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.78%, down slightly from 3.80% last week.

March existing sales and price report

The California Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales totaled 397,200 on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis in March. That first-quarter 6.3% was from the number of sales last March.

The median price paid for a home in California in March was $565,880, up 0.2% from March 2018. There was a 3.6 month supply of homes for sale, up from a 2.9 month supply one year ago.

On a regional basis: 

Los Angeles saw a 13% year over holiday-shortened in the number of sales, and there was a 0.2% decline in the median sales price from last March. Orange County saw a 12.5% drop in the number of sales, and a median price decline of 1.8% from last March. The number of homes sold in Ventura County decreased 15.4% from last March, and the median price declined 0.2% from March 2018. 


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
  • Bull market – “The condition of a financial market of a group of securities in which prices are rising or are expected to rise. The term “bull market” is most often used to refer to the stock market but can be applied to anything that is traded, such as bonds, real estate, currencies, and commodities.” (Investopedia.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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