MORE HOMES MOVED IN MAY
In a pleasant surprise for economists, both new and existing home sales picked up last month. The National Association of Realtors announced a 1.1% gain for resales, with the average house for sale spending only 27 days on the market. New home buying increased 2.9% in May, resulting in an annualized gain of 8.9%. The average sale price for a new home was $406,400, a record.
LEADING INDICATORS IMPROVE
The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index rose 0.3% for May, following gains of 0.2% for April and 0.4% for March. Most of the index’s components were positive for May and a steepening interest rate spread, a climb for the Institute for Supply Management’s new orders index, and greater consumer optimism about business and economic conditions were major factors. The LEI was up 3.5% year-over-year through May.
CRUDE IS ON ITS LONGEST LOSING STREAK IN 2 YEARS
WTI crude settled at $43.01 at Friday’s closing bell, down 4.4% from the end of last week. This decline marked the fifth straight weekly retreat for oil; an 8-week losing streak ended in August 2015. Oil is now in a bear market.
All three of the major U.S. equity indices had made 5-day gains by the time trading wrapped up on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had added just 0.05%, advancing to 21,394.76, and the S&P 500 had improved 0.21% to 2,438.30. In contrast, the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.84% to 6,265.25. Even after this last sideways week, the Dow 30 ended Friday’s session up 1.49% month-over-month.