The US housing market continues to show signs of stabilisation. From MarketWatch:
With interest rates falling, the number of mortgage applications as tracked by the Mortgage Bankers Association rose by 7.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis last week compared to the prior week, marking the highest in two months.
But investors remain worried. Reuters explains why:
Stocks gave up gains in the last hour of trading after the chief executive of D.R. Horton Inc. delivered an unusually blunt evaluation of the residential real estate market...
The Dow Jones industrial average declined 15.14 points, or 0.12 percent, to end at 12,192.45. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index shed 3.44 points, or 0.25 percent, to finish at 1,391.97. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 10.50 points, or 0.44 percent, to close at 2,374.64...
The chief executive of home builder D.R. Horton said at an analysts' conference that the current year for his company was "going to suck," spurring worries about weakness in housing...
Crude oil for April delivery rose $1.13, or 1.9 percent, to settle at $61.82 a barrel on Wednesday after a government report showed a surprising drop in U.S. crude supplies.
Reuters also summarises the rest of the US economic news released yesterday:
The U.S. Federal Reserve said that while the housing market may have turned the corner and inflation risks had not increased, output in some regions was cooling.
"Most Federal Reserve districts reported modest expansion in economic activity since the last report, but several districts noted some slowing," the Fed said in its Beige Book summary of economic conditions...
A separate consumer credit report from the Fed showed that demand for big-ticket items like cars and holidays had remained strong in January, despite slacker credit card spending.
Consumer credit rose at a 3.2 percent annual rate in January to $2.411 trillion versus December's increase of 2.51 percent, or $5.01 billion, the Fed said.
U.S. chief executives were also more upbeat, according to a Business Roundtable quarterly survey. This calculates an index of CEO optimism for the economy over the next six months and it rose solidly to 84.9 in March from 81.9 in December, which had been the lowest reading since 2003.
But regarding job conditions, another key gauge of economic health, a survey by private employment service ADP added to the mixed picture with its finding that U.S. firms probably added just 57,000 jobs last month, barely half the 100,000 forecast.