Thoughts to Ponder . . .
- I lost some weight once, but I found it again in the fridge.
- Dance like nobody is watching, because they are not, they are all checking their phones.
- A UFO!? Quick, grab the worst camera we own.
- If you have crazy friends you have everything you’ll ever need.
- If someone says “Who are you gonna call?” and your instinct is to say “Ghostbusters” then you are my kind of person.
And Now on to The Market Update . . .
The pace of rates rising has slowed, but they are continuing higher.
- Investors are pulling money from bonds and putting them into stocks, as they believe that President Elect Trump’s policies will be great for business.
- Good news for business means great news for stocks, 401K’s, IRA’s, etc…
- Along with all of this belief about growth, comes the need for investors to remove money from bonds, which lose value with in an increase in inflation, which will likely occur with economic expansion.
The Fed begins their December meeting this coming Tuesday.
- Based upon every survey of investors, analysts, and anyone else who watches the markets, it appears to be a forgone conclusion that rates will be raised.
- Recent economic data and labor market reports show strength in the economy and therefore the Fed will likely feel comfortable lifting interest rates.
- The anticipated increase is only .25%.
- Anything more than that would likely have a negative impact in the economy.
In great news for the housing market, existing home sales have reached the highest point since the meltdown of 2008.
The latest data shows…
Applications for home purchases increased slightly while refinance applications head down.
- As expected with the recent increases home loan rates, the benefits for homeowners to refinance is virtually eliminated unless they are looking to pull equity from their home.
- However, the jump in rates has lit a fire under buyers.
- The Mortgage Bankers Association of American reported that applications for home purchase loans jumped 0.4 percent while refinances declined 1.0 percent for the week of December 2nd.
Last week the Labor Department reported that employment conditions continue to improve.
- The latest numbers for November were an increase in non-farm payrolls by 178,000.
- This was 8,000 more than the average anticipated increase.
- Shockingly, the unemployment rate dropped .3 percent down to 4.6 percent.
- At this point the economy is considered essentially fully employed.
- There will always be a segment of the population that is not working, however those reasons are typically not economy related.
Following up from last week’s monthly employment report, first time jobless claims for the week ending December 2nd reinforce that’s the labor market is likely to remain strong for quite some time.
- The latest claims were reported at 258,000, which is well below the 300k benchmark.
Finally, there have been many headlines related to the agreement with OPEC to cut oil production in an attempt to raise prices.
- Oil producing nations have been struggling financially because of low oil prices and they are now trying to increase them by agreeing to slow production and eliminate the worlds surplus.
- Prices are now over $50 a barrel however it is likely they will not increase much more.
This week’s potential market moving reports are:
- Tuesday December 13th – FOMC Meeting Begins
- Wednesday December 14th – MBA Applications, FOMC Announcement and Forecasts
- Thursday December 15th – First Time Jobless Claims and Consumer Price Index
- Friday December 16th – Housing Starts