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Economic update for the week ending November 25, 2023 

Stock markets closed higher for a sixth straight week – Stocks closed higher in a holiday shortened week. Minutes from the last Fed meeting were released this week. They included that the Fed has shifted its policy on rate hikes to a more neutral position. For the first time in nearly two years the Fed has stated that the economy has slowed and that they do not intend to raise interest rate further. They did leave open the possibility of future hikes if the economy picked up, but it was the most encouraging statement that rate hikes have ended since they began their latest campaign of hikes in March 2022. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 35,390.15, up 1.3% from 34,947.28 last week. It is up 6.8% year-to-date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 4,559.34, up 1% from 4,514.02 last week. It is up 18.8% year-to-date. The Nasdaq closed the week at 14,250.85, up 0.9% from 14,125.48 last week. It is up 35.21% year-to-date.

U.S. Treasury bond yields – The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 4.47%, up slightly from 4.44% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 4.60%, almost unchanged from 4.59% last week. We watch bond yields because mortgage rates follow bond yields.

Mortgage rates – Mortgage rates dropped for a sixth straight week. They are now down almost one full percentage point since hitting a 23-year high of 8.25% in October. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as of November 22, 2023, were as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 7.29%, down from 7.44% last week. The 15-year fixed was 6.67%, down from 6.76% last week. Rates dropped all week.

U.S. existing-home sales – The National Association of Realtors reported that existing-home sales totaled 3.79 million units on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate in October, down 14.6% from an annualized rate of 4.44 million in October 2022. The median price for a home in the U.S. in October was $391,800, up 3.2% from $378,800 last October. There was a 3.6-month supply of homes for sale in October, up from a 3.3-month supply last October. First-time buyers accounted for 28% of all sales. Investors and second-home purchases accounted for 15% of all sales. All-cash purchases accounted for 29% of all sales. Foreclosures and short sales accounted for 2% of all sales.


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