Soaring homebuilder confidence, crashing mortgage applications, spiking mortgage rates, weak pending home sales, strong existing home sales, and now new home sales for November surged 5.2% MoM (smashing expectation of a 2.1% rise). Take your pick of the US housing 'recovery' narrative.
European stocks halted two days of declines, with the Stoxx 600 fractionally in the green and Italy’s bonds climbing after Monte Paschi requested a bailout and Italy pledged to provide support for its other ailing lenders. S&P futures were little changed among extremely thin volumes while Chinese stocks dropped amid concerns on higher borrowing costs.
Global markets begin the last full week of trading of the year in subdued fashion, with U.S. equity futures rising 0.1%, to 2,258.5, European shares decline, halting two straight weeks of gains, and Asian shares hitting a four-week low.
With mortgage rates soaring, it is only a matter of time before US housing is adversely impacted. And while the just released October new home sales data focused on sales of houses based on contracts signed in the month before the election, some concerns were already evident, when the number of new homes sold tumbled to 563K from a pre-revised 593K, badly missing expectations of a 593K print.
In a quiet overnight session in which Japan was closed, European shares are mixed as financials and auto weigh, Asian stocks rise led by materials while S&P futures little changed against a backdrop of the continuing commodity rally with oil holding near $48 a barrel, up fractionally on the session.
The key economic releases this week in the Thanksgiving-shortened week are the durable goods report and new home sales on Wednesday. There are several scheduled speaking engagements from Fed officials this week. Minutes from the November FOMC meeting will be released on Wednesday.
With the Trumpflation euphoria easing back slightly overnight, leading to a modest paring in the USD index and US Treasury yields, Asian and European stocks rose, while US equity futures rebounded to just shy of new all time highs, as crude jumped on renewed optimism that OPEC will agree to cut output; metals rebounded from last week’s losses as yields dropped and the dollar halted its longest winning streak versus the euro.
Just as was witnessed following “The Great Depression,” the bursting of the next asset bubble will likely once again drive participants away from the market for an entire generation, or longer. The problem for individual investors is the “trap” that is currently being laid between the appearance of strong market dynamics against the backdrop of weak economic and market fundamentals. Ignoring the last two to chase the former has historically not worked out well.
European, Asian stocks fell while S&P futures rebounded as investors assessed a mixed batch of earnings reports while the dollar strengthened to 9 month highs versus most of peers on rising confidence that the Fed will raise rates this year, pushing global bond yields higher.
Thanks to a dramatic downward revision for August (from 609k to 575k), September's 593k new home sales rose more than expected (but was below expectations of 600k). The pickup in September demand was helped by an 8.6% gain in the Midwest and a 3.4% increase in the South, but sales fell 4.5% in the West.
Looking at the week ahead, the US election enters the home stretch and politics will likely dominate the headlines, especially the closer races in Congress. Despite data being overshadowed by politics, there are some key US releases coming up, with the first estimate of Q3 GDP, the employment cost index and durable goods the main focus.