The following is an excerpt from the Professional Edition Fed Report of December 23. It was also made available to Wall Street Examiner Economic Bulletins, a free email service, on December 24. You can subscribe via the form in the left sidebar.
The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Mortgage Applications index announced Wednesday did a
belly flop. Purchase applications dropped 11.6% last week taking the purchase index back near the November 13 low. After that came a sharp bounce until December 4, followed by an immediate collapse back to the low.
Here’s what I think happened. When the first time home suckers’ tax credit expired, the market took
the Acapulco cliff dive. Then Congress, in its infinite wisdom, or maybe just because they were crapping their pants when the saw the numbers, extended and expanded the credit. At that point those buyers who previously had tried to get in under the wire but missed the deadline jumped back in to the market. My position has been that at this point, virtually everyone who wanted to use that credit had already done so. The extension sucked in all the procrastinators.
Now who’s left?
Apparently, no one. Applications are again doing the cliff dive. The 2 year downtrend is intact. The index is again well below the 52 week moving average, and it would appear that there’s room for conditions to worsen before reaching the lower limit of the long term trend rate of decline.
The Commerce Department was also out this week with more bad news on the housing front. New home sales plunged 11% in November. That’s on top of a 5.7% downward revision in the
October figure. The downtrend in sales is still intact. Inventories are being whittled down, but the inventory to sales ratio is turning back up. While the ratio is not at the crisis levels of 2008 and 2007, at 9.4 units of inventory per unit sold, it remains well above the December seasonal norm of
approximately 5 units.
- Treasury Auctions
- Federal Revenues
- Treasury Yields
- Open Market Operations (OMO)
- Primary dealers
- Alphabet Soup
- TALF- Toxic Assets Live Forever
- Other Fed Balance Sheet Items
- Foreign Central Banks
- The Dollar
- GSE-Treasury Spread
- Commercial Paper and Related Facilities
- Money Supply
Updates are posted 3 times each week.
We may be skating on very thin ice here, but the weight of the evidence still supports a weak bull case for the near to intermediate term. So I’m adding buy picks on the chart pick list and adjusting trailing stops to account for the risk.
These reports are not investment advice. They are for informational purposes, for a broad audience of investment and trading professionals, and other experienced investors and traders. Chart pick performance changes week to week and past performance may not indicate future results, as you know. Trading involves risk, and these reports assume that you understand those risks and manage them according to your tolerance.