Stocks down for the week – This week several Fed members as well as Fed chairperson, Janet Yellen, made statements about interest rate policy. They stated that rates will rise much slower than previously expected due to more uncertainty in the economy. This helped to weaken the value of the dollar which is good for manufacturers who export goods. The weaker dollar caused oil prices to rise. Oil was up 7% for the week with U.S. Crude closing above $39 a barrel. U.S. Crude hit a low of $27 a barrel in February, so oil prices have been on a good path to recovery. Energy stocks ended the week higher. Unfortunately, retail stocks got hit hard when Gap and several other retailers announced that same store March sales were down considerably. This and The Fed comments caused investors to wonder where the economy is heading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 17,576, down from 17,972.75 last week. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,047.60, down from 2,072.78 last week. The NASDAQ closed Friday at 4,850.69, down from 4,914.54 last week.
Bond yields lower for the week – The 10 year U.S. Treasury bond closed Friday yielding 1.72%, down from 1.79% last week. The 30 year U.S. Treasury bond closed Friday yielding 2.55%, down from 2.62% last week. Mortgage rates follow bond yields so we watch bonds carefully.
Mortgage rates near three year low –The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey released on April 7, 2016 showed that average mortgage rates from lenders surveyed for the most popular products were as follows: The 30 year fixed average rate was 3.59%. The 15 year fixed average rate was 2.88%. The 5/1 ARMaverage rate was 2.82%.
This was a slow week for data. Next week we should start getting housing sale numbers and California March employment figures.