Tap the Housing Market | August 21, 2020

AUTHOR: Jason J. Roque, CFP®, APMA®, AWMA®
TITLE:    Investment Adviser Rep – CCO
TAGS:   Nasdaq, Jobs, Mortgage, Correction

Markets extended the rally last week on strong housing data. What’s on tap for this week?


Technology stocks led on Monday as the week got underway. Home builder sentiment is at a high not seen since 1998. The likely impactor is the effect of low interest rates, which is making housing more affordable. Additionally, there is a belief that an exodus from urban areas is underway as remote work environments become likely.


One week after tapping all time high’s, the S&P 500 finally closed above its February 19th level. This erased all the pandemic related losses in exactly 6 months. Helping the investor moods Tuesday was positive housing economic data. Building permits rose by 18.8% and housing starts increased by 22.6%, both for July!  


Retail held investor focus at open as they out-performed expectations. The S&P 500 hung around their all-time highs for most of the day. The optimism faded, however, retreating some 30 points into the close.


Markets opened in the red on news that initial jobless claims surged to 1.106M when 925K were expected. The markets pulled themselves into the green early in the day and stayed there through the remainder of trading. This was led by Tech and Gold. These two areas have turned into the COVID recession’s safe haven assets.


Economic data moved markets north on Friday. Manufacturing PMI for August rose to 53.6, when 51.9 was expected. Services PMI for August rose to 54.8, while 51.0 was expected. 50 marks the line between expansion (above 50) and contraction (below 50). This strong PMI data may be an early indication that our economy is exiting the recession. Existing home sales rose 24.7% in July, improving on the rise of 20.2% in June. This is a meaningful increase as it represents 1.16M unit increase!


It was a seesaw of a week, but as of late this has become the norm. Investors looked past the noise as a swath of strong housing data helped improve sentiment. August historically carries very light trading volume. This year has been no different. So, the tone in Markets may change as we move into September.

There is a spattering of economic data on tap for this week: CB Consumer Confidence, New Home Sales, Durable goods orders, weekly jobless claims, and Michigan Consumer Sentiment. There should be plenty to digest for investors and the following week should prove to be even more interesting.

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