Economic update for the week ending November 21, 2020

Stock markets unchanged this week – Investors bought stocks based on positive news showing that several COVID-19 vaccines are close to being approved for distribution. They also sold stocks based on fear that surging COVID-19 cases were causing further restrictions that will curtail business growth throughout the country. Unemployment claims unexpectedly rose this week which was further evidence that the re-opening of the economy has begun to show some signs of reversing. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 29,293.48, down 0.7% from 29,471.81 last week. It’s up 2.5% year-to-date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 3,557.54, down 0.8% from 3,585.15 last week. This is a record close. It’s up 10.1% year-to-date. The NASDAQ closed the week at 11,854.97, down 0.2% from 11,829.28 last week. It’s up 32.1% year-to-date.

U.S. Treasury bond yields – The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 0.83%, down from 0.89% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 1.53%, up from 1.65% last week. We watch bond yields because mortgage rates often follow treasury bond yields.

Mortgage rates – The November 19, 2020, Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 2.72%, down from 2.84% last week. The 15-year fixed was 2.28%, down from 2.34% last week. The 5-year ARM was 2.85%, down from 3.11% last week.

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