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  • Tue, Jan 21 2020
  • 1:26 PM » Revisiting: Has Housing Market Activity Peaked?
    Published Tue, Jan 21 2020 1:26 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    I wrote this in July 2018 (see: Has Housing Market Activity Peaked? and Has the Housing Market Peaked? (Part 2) First, I think it is likely that existing home sales will move more sideways going forward. However it is important to remember that new home sales are more important for jobs and the economy than existing home sales. Since existing sales are existing stock, the only direct contribution to GDP is the broker's commission. There is usually some additional spending with an existing home purchase - new furniture, etc. - but overall the economic impact is small compared to a new home sale. ... For the economy, what we should be focused on are single family starts and new home sales . As I noted in Investment and Recessions "New Home Sales appears to be an excellent leading indicator, and currently new home sales (and housing starts) are up solidly year-over-year, and this suggests there is no recession in sight." If new home sales and single family starts have peaked that would be a significant warning sign.   Although housing is under pressure from policy (negative impact from tax, immigration and trade policies), I do not think housing has peaked, and I think new home sales and single family starts will increase further over the next couple of years . Since that post, existing home sales have mostly moved sideways, and both new home sales and single family starts have hit new cycle highs. Here is the graph I like to use to track tops and bottoms for housing activity. This is a graph of Single family housing starts, New Home Sales, and  Residential Investment (RI) as a percent of GDP. Click on graph for larger image. The arrows point to some of the earlier peaks and troughs for these three measures. The purpose of this graph is to show that these three indicators generally reach peaks and troughs together. Note that Residential Investment is quarterly and single-family starts and new home sales are monthly. RI as a percent of GDP...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 1:26 PM » Share of First-Time Home Buyers Rises Significantly in the Final Quarter of 2019
    Published Tue, Jan 21 2020 1:26 PM by
    According to NAHB's latest Housing Trends Report, the share of adults who are considering purchasing a home in the next 12 months fell to 11% in the final quarter of 2019, down from 13% a year earlier. This decline marks the fifth consecutive year-over-year drop in the share of American adults planning to buy a home in the year ahead,... Read More ›
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 1:25 PM » Housing market falling short by nearly 4 million homes as demand grows
    Published Tue, Jan 21 2020 1:25 PM by CNBC
    Homebuilding took a sharp turn higher to end 2019, but it is far from enough to satisfy the current demand. The U.S. housing market is short nearly 4 million homes, according to a new analysis from
  • 11:46 AM » Trump again pushes negative interest rates, but Kudlow says they don't work
    Published Tue, Jan 21 2020 11:46 AM by CNBC
    Both officials spoke Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos and offered different views on how effective below-zero government bond yields are on stimulating growth.
  • 10:07 AM » Retired Workers and the Overall Labor Force Participation Rate
    Published Tue, Jan 21 2020 10:07 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    In December I wrote Ten Economic Questions for 2020 . I noted that I expect the overall participation rate to start declining again in 2020, pushing down the unemployment rate . Note: Every month, with the employment report, I focus on the prime participation rate because of changing demographics - but this post is about the overall participation rate. Here is a graph of the annual change in Retired workers and dependent receiving Old-Age Social Security benefits and the annual Labor Force Participation Rate since 1970.  This doesn't mean these people are actually retiring (they may still be working), but this gives us an idea of how many people are retiring per year. Click on graph for larger image. The number of people retiring per year was declining until the late '90s, and then started increasing. The annual overall (16+ years old) participation rate peaked around 2000, and has generally been decreasing as more people retire. Note: There are other factors involved in the decline in the overall participation rate - such as more people staying in school - but retiring workers is a key. A few years ago, I predicted the overall participation rate would move mostly sideways or increase slightly as solid employment growth offset the large number of retirements. Now, given demographics, I expect to see a downward trend for the overall participation rate over the next decade, even with a healthy job market.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 9:28 AM » China virus sends chill through markets as risks rise
    Published Tue, Jan 21 2020 9:28 AM by Reuters
    Global stock markets took a hit on Tuesday as mounting concern about a new strain of coronavirus in China sent a ripple of risk aversion through markets.
  • 8:22 AM » Mnuchin tells WSJ that phase 2 of China trade deal may not remove all tariffs
    Published Tue, Jan 21 2020 8:22 AM by CNBC
    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Wall Street Journal that the next step in trade negotiations with China may not lift tariffs.
  • 8:11 AM » Central banks join forces to look at future digital currencies
    Published Tue, Jan 21 2020 8:11 AM by Reuters
    Major central banks are looking at the case for issuing their own digital currencies, the Bank of England and European Central Bank said on Tuesday, amid a growing debate over the future of money and who controls it.
  • 8:04 AM » White House top economic advisor Larry Kudlow says economic growth will top 3% this year
    Published Tue, Jan 21 2020 8:04 AM by CNBC
    Kudlow, President Donald Trump's top economic advisor, said Tuesday that GDP growth in the U.S. should hit at least 3% in 2020.
  • Fri, Jan 17 2020
  • 4:58 PM » Wall Street hits new highs in strongest week since August
    Published Fri, Jan 17 2020 4:58 PM by Reuters
    Wall Street climbed to record highs on Friday, with major indexes turning in their strongest weekly gains since August, after strong U.S. housing data and signs of resilience in the Chinese economy raised hopes of a rebound in global growth.
  • 4:58 PM » Treasury brings back the 20-year bond to pay for the ballooning deficit
    Published Fri, Jan 17 2020 4:58 PM by CNBC
    The Treasury Department is issuing a 20-year bond for the first time in 34 years to help pay for the ballooning $1 trillion dollar budget deficit.
  • 2:40 PM » CAR on California December Housing: Sales up 7.4% YoY, Inventory down 26.5%, Lowest Inventory in "nearly seven years"
    Published Fri, Jan 17 2020 2:40 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    The CAR reported: Low interest rates boost housing market in second half of year as home prices post strong gains in December, C.A.R. reports Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 398,880 units in December, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide annualized sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2019 if sales maintained the December pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales. December's sales total was down 1.0 percent from the 402,880 level in November and marked the first time in six months that sales fell below the 400,000 benchmark. Still, sales were up a solid 7.4 percent from December 2018 's revised 371,410 figure. For the year 2019, annual home sales fell for the second consecutive year to a preliminary 397,910 closed escrow sales in California, down from 2018's pace of 402,640. "Despite a sales slowdown at year-end, home sales were up from a year ago as interest rates remained low. It's important to note, however, that the increase was due partly to low housing demand in the prior year," said 2020 C.A.R. President Jeanne Radsick, a second-generation REALTOR® from Bakersfield, Calif. "Looking ahead, low rates should continue to provide support to the market as buyers have become more motivated to get back into the market, and home sales in California should see an improvement at the start of the year." ... "With housing supply dropping to the lowest level in nearly seven years, California experienced an unusual jump in its median price at the end of the year when the market is supposed to cool down," said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. "While low rates have been fueling demand in the second...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 2:40 PM » Q4 GDP Forecasts: 1.2% to 2.0%
    Published Fri, Jan 17 2020 2:40 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From Merrill Lynch On balance retail sales cut our 4Q GDP tracking by 0.2pp to 2.0% qoq saar . [Jan 17 estimate] emphasis added From the NY Fed Nowcasting Report The New York Fed Staff Nowcast stands at 1.2% for 2019:Q4 and 1.7% for 2020:Q1. [Jan 17 estimate] And from the Altanta Fed: GDPNow The GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the fourth quarter of 2019 is 1.8 percent on January 17, unchanged from January 16 after rounding. After this morning's housing starts report from the U.S. Census Bureau and industrial production release from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, a decrease in the nowcast of fourth-quarter real personal consumption expenditures growth from 1.6 percent to 1.4 percent was partly offset by an increase in the nowcast of real residential investment growth from 4.3 percent to 5.5 percent. [Jan 17 estimate] CR Note: These estimates suggest real GDP growth will be between 1.2% and 2.0% annualized in Q4.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 2:12 PM » Trump's Fed pick Judy Shelton faces obstacles to confirmation
    Published Fri, Jan 17 2020 2:12 PM by CNBC
    The move comes with two pressing questions - whether she could be a future chair at the central bank, and if she even will be able to serve if confirmed
  • 12:49 PM » BLS: Job Openings "Fell" to 6.8 Million in November
    Published Fri, Jan 17 2020 12:49 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Notes: In November there were 6.800 million job openings, and, according to the November Employment report, there were 5.811 million unemployed. So, for the twenty-first consecutive month, there were more job openings than people unemployed. Also note that the number of job openings has exceeded the number of hires since January 2015 (almost 5 years). From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary The number of job openings fell to 6.8 million (-561,000) on the last business day of November , the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 5.8 million and 5.6 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate was unchanged at 2.3 percent and the layoffs and discharges rate was little changed at 1.1 percent. ... The number of total nonfarm quits was little changed in November at 3.5 million and the rate was unchanged at 2.3 percent. Quits increased in retail trade (+118,000), wholesale trade (+26,000), and nondurable goods manufacturing (+19,000). Quits decreased in other services (-63,000). emphasis added The following graph shows job openings (yellow line), hires (dark blue), Layoff, Discharges and other (red column), and Quits (light blue column) from the JOLTS. This series started in December 2000. Note: The difference between JOLTS hires and separations is similar to the CES (payroll survey) net jobs headline numbers. This report is for November, the most recent employment report was for December. Click on graph for larger image. Note that hires (dark blue) and total separations (red and light blue columns stacked) are pretty close each month. This is a measure of labor market turnover.  When the blue line is above the two stacked columns, the economy is adding net jobs - when it is below the columns, the economy is losing jobs. Jobs openings decreased in November to 6.800 million from 7.361 million in October. The number of job openings (yellow) are down 11% year-over...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 11:49 AM » Fed's Bullard: "Material reassessment" is "big tent language"
    Published Fri, Jan 17 2020 11:49 AM by Reuters
    St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard expounded on what might comprise a "material reassessment" of the economic outlook, the Treasury yield curve, the central bank's framework review and more in a Reuters interview.
  • 11:25 AM » U.S. manufacturing output rises unexpectedly
    Published Fri, Jan 17 2020 11:25 AM by Reuters
    U.S. manufacturing output rose unexpectedly in December as a drop in motor vehicle output was outpaced by increases in production of other durable goods, food and beverages, and other products.
  • 9:45 AM » The yield curve's still weird. Fed's Bullard is okay with that
    Published Fri, Jan 17 2020 9:45 AM by Reuters
    It was more than a year ago when St. Louis Federal Reserve bank President James Bullard started raising the alarm about a U.S. bond market where interest rates seemed to show investors losing faith in the economy, a risky environment for the Fed to carry out planned rate increases.
  • 8:17 AM » US Home Prices Up 7% in December
    Published Fri, Jan 17 2020 8:17 AM by
    A record shortage of homes for sale drove prices up on a monthly and annual basis. U.S. home-sale prices increased 6.9% year over year in December to a median of $312,500 across the 217 metros Redfin tracks. Home prices were also up 1.1% month over month on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the largest increase since February … US Home Prices Up 7% in December Read More » The post US Home Prices Up 7% in December appeared first on Redfin Blog .
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • Thu, Jan 16 2020
  • 3:59 PM » S&P 500 cracks 3,300 on strong bank earnings and retail data
    Published Thu, Jan 16 2020 3:59 PM by Reuters
    The S&P 500 hit the 3,300 mark for the first time on Thursday and the other main U.S. indexes also broke record highs, fueled by solid retail sales data and upbeat Morgan Stanley earnings.
  • 2:04 PM » Labor Department makes big change to the way jobs data is released, aimed at hedge funds, media
    Published Thu, Jan 16 2020 2:04 PM by CNBC
    The department said it no longer will allow computers in the lock-ups it hosts for credentialed press. The move appears to be targeted specifically at Bloomberg.
  • 2:00 PM » Student loan debt is over $1.6 trillion and hardly anyone is paying down their loans
    Published Thu, Jan 16 2020 2:00 PM by CNBC
    Since the explosion of student loan debt following the Great Recession, annual repayment rates, or the amount of existing balances lowered, have been just 3%
  • 2:00 PM » CFPB seeking applications for membership on advisory groups
    Published Thu, Jan 16 2020 2:00 PM by
    The CFPB has published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that it is seeking applications for membership on its Consumer Advisory Board, Community Bank Advisory Council, Credit Union Advisory Council, and Academic Research Council. For an applicant to be considered, the Bureau must receive his or her complete application packet by February 27, 2020.... Continue Reading
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 11:38 AM » U.S. Senate poised to pass new North American trade deal
    Published Thu, Jan 16 2020 11:38 AM by Reuters
    The U.S. Senate was poised to approve a new North American trade deal on Thursday, clearing the way for a revamp of the 26-year-old NAFTA that includes tougher labor and automotive content rules but leaves $1.2 trillion in annual U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade flows largely unchanged.
  • 9:53 AM » Philly Fed Manufacturing Suggests Activity Increased in January
    Published Thu, Jan 16 2020 9:53 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From the Philly Fed: Current Manufacturing Indicators Suggest Growth in January Manufacturing activity in the region increased this month, according to results from the January Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey. The survey's indicators for current activity, new orders, shipments, and employment were all positive and increased from their readings in December. The survey's future activity indexes remained at relatively high readings, suggesting continued optimism about growth for the next six months. The diffusion index for current general activity increased nearly 15 points this month, from a revised reading of 2.4 in December to 17.0 Manufacturers continued to report expanding employment this month. The employment index increased 3 points to 19.3. emphasis added This was well above the consensus forecast. Here is a graph comparing the regional Fed surveys and the ISM manufacturing index: Click on graph for larger image. The New York and Philly Fed surveys are averaged together (yellow, through January), and five Fed surveys are averaged (blue, through December) including New York, Philly, Richmond, Dallas and Kansas City. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) PMI (red) is through December (right axis). These early reports suggest the ISM manufacturing index will likely rebound into positive territory in January.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 9:21 AM » Retail Sales increased 0.3% in December
    Published Thu, Jan 16 2020 9:21 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    On a monthly basis, retail sales increased 0.3 percent from November to December (seasonally adjusted), and sales were up 5.8 percent from December 2018. From the Census Bureau report : Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for December 2019, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $529.6 billion, an increase of 0.3 percent from the previous month , and 5.8 percent above December 2018. Total sales for the 12 months of 2019 were up 3.6 percent from 2018. emphasis added Click on graph for larger image. This graph shows retail sales since 1992. This is monthly retail sales and food service, seasonally adjusted (total and ex-gasoline). Retail sales ex-gasoline were up 0.1% in December. The second graph shows the year-over-year change in retail sales and food service (ex-gasoline) since 1993. Retail and Food service sales, ex-gasoline, increased by 5.5% on a YoY basis. The increase in December was at expectations, however sales in October and November were revised down.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 9:03 AM » US weekly jobless claims drop unexpectedly
    Published Thu, Jan 16 2020 9:03 AM by CNBC
    The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, pointing to continued strength in the labor market.
  • 8:28 AM » Futures near record on trade deal, robust earnings
    Published Thu, Jan 16 2020 8:28 AM by Reuters
    U.S. stock index futures hovered near all-time highs on Thursday on optimism over an initial U.S.-China trade deal and a positive start to the fourth-quarter earnings season.
  • 8:07 AM » Morgan Stanley beats profit estimates as bond trading revenue surges
    Published Thu, Jan 16 2020 8:07 AM by Reuters
    Morgan Stanley beat estimates for quarterly profit by a wide margin on Thursday, powered by strength in its investment management, bond trading and underwriting businesses.
  • Wed, Jan 15 2020
  • 2:34 PM » U.S. economy expands modestly but trade tensions weigh, Fed survey shows
    Published Wed, Jan 15 2020 2:34 PM by Reuters
    The U.S. economy expanded at a modest pace through the final six weeks of 2019 but uncertainty over U.S. trade policy continued to hurt firms, a survey conducted by the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.
  • 2:34 PM » Trump gets dig in at Fed chief Powell during trade deal signing
    Published Wed, Jan 15 2020 2:34 PM by CNBC
    Donald Trump took an indirect shot at Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell when he asked former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh why he did not push harder to get the top job at the central bank.
  • 2:34 PM » Building Materials Price Growth Slowest Since 2015
    Published Wed, Jan 15 2020 2:34 PM by
    Prices paid for goods used in residential construction advanced 0.2% in December (not seasonally adjusted) according to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Building materials prices increased 0.1% per month, on average, in 2019. The price of goods used in residential construction rose 1.5% over the year, representing a 0.4ppt slowdown from the... Read More ›
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 1:27 PM » Trump: U.S. will lift tariffs on China after Phase 2 deal finished
    Published Wed, Jan 15 2020 1:27 PM by Reuters
    U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he would remove all U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports as soon as the two countries completed the Phase 2 part of their trade agreement, adding that he does not expect there to be a Phase 3 pact.
  • 1:26 PM » What's in the U.S.-China Phase 1 trade deal
    Published Wed, Jan 15 2020 1:26 PM by Reuters
    U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed a deal on Wednesday in the White House that cut some U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods in exchange for Chinese pledges to purchase more of American farm, energy and manufactured goods and address some U.S. complaints about intellectual property practices.
  • 12:51 PM » U.S., China look to reset trade relations with signing of Phase 1 deal
    Published Wed, Jan 15 2020 12:51 PM by Reuters
    U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will sign an initial trade deal on Wednesday that will roll back some tariffs and see China boost purchases of U.S. goods and services, defusing an 18-month conflict between the world's two largest economies.
  • 12:50 PM » Kudlow says U.S. will eye success of Phase 1 China trade deal
    Published Wed, Jan 15 2020 12:50 PM by Reuters
    U.S. tariffs will remain on Chinese imports while the Trump administration sees how enforcement plays out under the Phase 1 trade deal with Beijing, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Wednesday.
  • 12:48 PM » BlackRock CEO Fink: Investors not 'overzealous' on equities despite rally
    Published Wed, Jan 15 2020 12:48 PM by Reuters
    Even as the stock market enjoyed a sharp rally recently, many of BlackRock's clients were under-invested in equities and remained heavily oriented towards fixed-income securities, BlackRock Inc Chief Executive Larry Fink said on Wednesday.
  • 11:55 AM » Small Business Optimism Index "Dips" in December
    Published Wed, Jan 15 2020 11:55 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    CR Note: This was released yesterday. Most of this survey is noise, but there is some information, especially on the labor market and the "Single Most Important Problem". From the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB): December 2019 Report: Small Business Optimism Dips in December Small business optimism ended the year historically strong, with a reading of 102.7, down 2 points from November . .. Net job creation had faded from February's 0.52 workers per firm to September's 0.10, but is back in strong territory. Finding qualified workers remains the top issue for 23 percent reporting this as their number one problem , 4 points below August's record high. emphasis added Click on graph for larger image. This graph shows the small business optimism index since 1986. The index decreased to 102.7 in December. Note: Usually small business owners complain about taxes and regulations (currently 2nd and 3rd on the "Single Most Important Problem" list). However, during the recession, "poor sales" was the top problem. Now the difficulty of finding qualified workers is the top problem.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 11:09 AM » Watch: Donald Trump signs 'phase one' China trade deal
    Published Wed, Jan 15 2020 11:09 AM by CNBC
    President Donald Trump is expected to sign the "phase one" trade deal with China on Wednesday at the White House, as impeachment trial in Senate looms.
  • 10:02 AM » Mnuchin says China trade war 'absolutely' worth it even if a phase one deal is all the US gets
    Published Wed, Jan 15 2020 10:02 AM by CNBC
    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke on CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday.
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