· New orders for manufactured durable goods decreased 4.4% in October, while shipments decreased 0.6%. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.1%. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 1.2%. Year-to-date, new orders were up 8.7%, and shipments were up 7.3% from the same period a year ago.
· Existing home sales increased 1.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.22 million in October, from 5.15 million in September, according to the National Association of Realtors. The median existing home price in October was $255.4 thousand, up 3.8% from October 2017. Total housing inventory at the end of October decreased 1.6% from the previous month, but increased 2.8% from a year ago, to 1.85 million. Unsold inventory was at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.4 months in September, but up from 3.9 months in October 2017.
· Housing starts in October were up 1.5% from the previous month, but were down 2.9% from October 2017. Building permits in October were down 0.6% from September, and were down 6.0% from a year ago.
· The housing market index of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo decreased 8 points to 60 in November. The Index was 72 in January 2018, and 69 in November of 2017.
· The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed that mortgage rates dropping across the board. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.81% for the week ending November 21st, down from last week when it averaged 4.94%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.92%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.24% for the week ending November 21st, down from last week when it averaged 4.36%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.32%.
· Mortgage applications edged down 0.1% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending November 16, 2018.
· The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance was 224 thousand in the week ending November 17, an increase of 3 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 218.5 thousand, an increase of 2 thousand from the previous week’s average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending November 10 was 1,668 thousand, a decrease of 2 thousand from the previous week. The 4-week moving average was 1,649.75 thousand, an increase of 7.5 thousand from the previous week’s average.
· The Conference Board’s leading economic index increased 0.1% in October, following a 0.6% increase in the previous month. The coincident index increased 0.2%, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month. Over the six-month span through October, the leading index increased 2.6% (about a 5.2% annual rate) with eight out of ten components advancing, while the coincident index increased 1.1% (about a 2.1% annual rate) with all four components advancing.
· The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment decreased to 97.5 in November, from 98.6 in October. The Index was 98.5 in November of 2017. The Current Conditions Index decreased from 113.1 in October to 112.3 in November, while The Index of Consumer Expectations decreased from 89.3 to 88.1.