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Economic Update

Stocks finished the week sharply higher after four straight weeks of loses – Stocks markets climbed this week as both the US and China seemed to be backing down on further trade tariffs which have escalated into a trade war. Investors hope that both sides will back down and claim victory ending tensions which have harmed the economies in both countries. The Commerce Department announced this week that consumer spending was up 4.7% in the second quarter, its largest gain in four years. Consumer spending accounts for two thirds of the US economy, so this report helps to ease investors’ recession fears. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 26,403.28, up 3% from 25,628.90 last week. It’s up 13.2% year to date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,926.46, up  2.8% from 2,847.11 last week. It is up 16.7%  year to date. The NASDAQ closed the week at 7,962.88, up 2.7% from 7,751.27 last week. The NASDAQ is up 20% year to date.

10-year treasury bond yield dropped below 2% this week – The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 1.50% down slightly from 1.52%  last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 1.96%, down from 2.02%  last week. We watch treasury bond yields because mortgage rates often follow bond yields.

Mortgage rates near record lows – The August 29, 2019 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 3.58%, almost unchanged from 3.55%  last week. The 15-year fixed was 3.06% almost unchanged from 3.03% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.31% unchanged from 3.32%  last week.

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Paul Evans

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