Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.
Last Week’s Economic Headlines
· The May report on new residential construction was a mixed bag of good and not-so-good news. On the plus side, housing starts (5.0%) and housing completions (1.9%) each expanded over their April totals. That should get more homes on the market, which should increase inventory. On the other hand, building permits were down 4.6% in May from the prior month, which doesn’t necessarily bode well for future construction.
· Existing home sales, which had been a strong segment of the housing sector earlier in the year, have fallen back for the second consecutive month. May’s sales of existing homes decreased 0.4% from April’s totals, and are now 3.0% lower than a year ago. The median existing-home price for all housing types in May was $264,800, an all-time high and up 4.9% from May 2017 ($252,500). May’s price increase marks the 75th straight month of year-over-year gains. Inventory of existing homes for sale rose 2.8% in May, yielding a 4.1-month supply at the current sales pace. While inventory is expanding somewhat, it’s still well below (6.1%) the number of homes available for sale this time last year.
· In the week ended June 16, there were 218,000 initial claims for unemployment insurance, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s level, which was revised up by 3,000. The advance insured unemployment rate remained at 1.2%. The advance number of those receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the week ended June 9 was 1,723,000, an increase of 22,000 from the prior week’s level, which was revised up by 4,000.
Eye on the Week Ahead
The last week of June brings with it some notable economic reports, led by the final estimate of the first-quarter gross domestic product. The report on personal income will show whether wage inflation is mirroring consumer price increases.
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