>> Market Update
QUOTATION OF THE WEEK..."Housework can't kill you, but why take a chance." --Phyllis Diller, American comedian
INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE... After dipping two months in a row, Pending Home Sales went up 0.9% in June--in all four U.S. regions. This National Association of Realtors (NAR) index of signed contracts on existing homes points to higher sales for July.
The NAR's chief economist believes the worst of the supply crunch has possibly passed. And Realtor.com's chief economist noted, "markets on both coasts and in the South reported inventory increases in July."
The latest Case-Shiller Home Price Index stayed at a 6.4% annual gain for the second month in a row. So the rate at which home prices are rising seems to have stabilized for now.
BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK... Experts say the one trait that will set you apart from the competition is to over-deliver on value. Exceed the expectations of your customers, vendors, partners, employees and community, and you'll give yourself a distinct competitive edge.
>> Review of Last Week
EARNINGS AND DATA SPIKE STOCKS... Hot on the heels of solid corporate earnings and decent economic data, the Dow and the S&P 500 scored their fifth weekly gain in a row, while the Nasdaq followed two weeks of losses with the biggest boost of the three.
July jobs was the key economic report, and although we got a less-than-expected 157,000 new Nonfarm Payrolls, upward revs to May and June yielded a net gain of 216,000. Unemployment ticked down to 3.9%, pretty impressive, since the labor force is up by 1.5 million the past year.
The Fed met and left rates alone, as predicted. Even better, their policy statement said recent economic activity is rising at a "strong" rate, upgraded from the "solid" rate they observed in June. ISM reads showed manufacturing and services sectors staying well into expansion territory.
The week ended with the Dow UP 0.1%, to 25463; the S&P 500 UP 0.8%, to 2840, and the Nasdaq UP 1.0%, to 7812.
Treasuries finished the week higher, helping mortgage bonds post modest gains. The 30YR FNMA 4.0% bond ended up .11, to $101.67. The national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate drifted up for the second week in a row according to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up-to-the-minute information.