Morning Report: Home Prices rise 6.6% YOY 12/21/17

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P Futures 2687.0 5.5
Eurostoxx Index 388.8 0.4
Oil (WTI) 57.5 0.3
US dollar index 86.8 0.0
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.49%
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 102.531
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 103.375
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 3.88

Stocks are up this morning after tax reform is passed. Bonds and MBS are flat.

Hot on the heels of tax reform is legislation to keep the lights on. The House is set to vote on a stopgap measure to keep the government open for another month. This will prevent the Senate from attaching too many things to the bill. It also gives the government some breathing room after the new year to hash out a longer-term funding deal.

In response to the tax cuts, 5 big corporations (Comcast, AT&T, Boeing, Fifth Third, and Wells Fargo) all announced they were either raising pay or paying bonuses to workers. Could this be the start of broader wage growth?

House prices rose 0.5% in October, according to the FHFA House Price Index. September’s 0.3% increase was revised upward to 0.5%. On a YOY basis, prices rose 6.6% nationally. The East South Central region (TN, KY, MI, and AL) rose 8.2%, which was a particular strong showing. As usual, the West and Mountain states led the charge, while the Upper Midwest and the East Coast brought up the rear.

The final revision for third quarter GDP came in at 3.2%. The prior estimate was 3.3% as consumer spending was revised down a tenth of a percent to 2.2%. The GDP price deflator was unchanged at 2.1%.

In other economic data, Initial Jobless Claims rose to 245k last week, while the Philly Fed Manufacturing Index rose. The Chicago Fed National Activity Index gave back some of October’s hurricane-related gains. The Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose 0.3%. Overall, all of these reports were strong readings and show the economy with some momentum heading into 2018.

The chickens are coming home to roost for subprime auto lending. Some big private equity firms got into the business, hoping to generate huge returns from auto loans paying in the high single digits. Unfortunately, the default rates have soared for these loans, and auto sales have cooled off and they can’t exit the business. No, it isn’t a canary in the coal mine for the US economy as a whole.

Realtor.com weighs in on the hottest and coldest real estate markets of 2017. In the top 20, the hottest are unsurprising – the Bay Area. However there are a few surprises, like Detroit, Fort Wayne, and Stockton.

This reminds me of the late 90s, when companies discovered you could get a multiple by adding .com to your corporate moniker. Long Island Iced Tea company jumps fivefold after renaming itself Long Blockchain and committing to looking for a way to make money in blockchain and fintech. Not that they have any business in it, or expertise, but they will look into the idea.

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