Morning Report: New Home Sales disappoint 5/23/17

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P Futures 2396.3 3.5
Eurostoxx Index 392.3 1.1
Oil (WTI) 51.1 -0.1
US dollar index 88.6  
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.25%
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 102.6
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 103.81
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 4

Stocks are higher this morning despite a terrorist attack in the UK. Bonds and MBS are up.

New Home sales came in at 569,000, lower than the 620,000 estimate. The median new home sale price was 309k. The average was 369k. New Home Sales are still lagging population growth.

The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index declined in April as well.

The DC Appeals Court will hear arguments Wednesday to reconsider its decision that the current structure of the CFPB is unconstitutional. If the CFPB loses its case, it will probably have to be re-worked, with a committee instead of a single director who will be accountable to the President. Trump has said he isn’t in favor of killing the agency, but would like to make some modifications.

Merrill Lynch is taking down its inflation forecasts for the year. They are taking their estimate for end of 2017 CPI to 1.9% from 2.3% and its estimate for core PCE to 1.7% from 1.9%. The core PCE is the inflationary index the Fed targets. Merrill is identifying some transitory drivers, so they expect inflation to return to target levels in 2018. Don’t forget, we will get the FOMC minutes tomorrow, which will give some further color on what the Fed was thinking last month, especially given the political environment in DC. Their Fed Funds forecast was based on an assumption that fiscal stimulus will get passed, and that looks impossible at this point.

Minneapolis Fed Head Neel Kashkari wants to see more data before making a decision on a June hike. The June Fed Funds futures are factoring at 78% chance of a 25 basis point hike. Note as well that the yield curve continues to flatten from its post-election steepening. The twos-tens spread (basically the difference between the 10 year yield and the 2 year yield) is the lowest since October.

Trump outlined his proposed budget, which cuts domestic spending by $3.6 trillion over 10 years. His budget doesn’t touch Social Security, Medicare, or defense. This is largely an ideological document that will never pass – in fact one of Obama’s proposed budgets couldn’t muster up even one Democratic vote. There is talk that the budget will cut HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Program, which runs Meals on Wheels and also doles out money for things like bike lanes, public spaces, etc. Based on trial balloons floated earlier in the administration the rest of HUD’s budget looks like it will be untouched.

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