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Markets in a Minute | May 18, 2018

 

Retail sales rose 0.3% in April, matching expectations. Consumer spending is also picking up, but higher gas prices are cutting into discretionary spending.
The increase in sales and spending is driving investors’ concerns about increasing inflation. These concerns have helped push mortgage rates higher.
Although jobless claims were slightly higher last week at 220,000, the number of people on unemployment rolls fell to the lowest level since 1973.

 

Home builder confidence rose in May, according to the NAHB. Low unemployment and strong demand have builders looking favorably on the market.
However, housing starts were down slightly in April from March. Lumber costs and difficulty hiring as many workers as needed are contributing factors.
Rising rates don’t seem to be affecting demand for housing. Although mortgage applications fell slightly last week, the decline was mostly for refi applications.

 

I get plenty of exercise—jumping to conclusions, pushing my luck, and dodging deadlines.

 

Rate movements and volatility are based on published, aggregate national averages and measured from the previous to the most recent midweek daily reporting period. These rate trends can differ from our own and are subject to change at any time.
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