A Dour Mix Of Economic News

The real story of the day is the bond market which I’ll get to in a separate post. First, I’ll do my economic data housekeeping.

No good news in the jobs market. Initial claims fell from 636,000 to 623,000 and the four-week moving average fell to 626,750 a drop of 3,000. (Market Watch)

Durable goods orders in April were up a healthy 1.9% the biggest gain since December 2007. Unfortunately, the March number was revised downward from an 0.8% decrease to a 2.1% decrease. This has been a recurring problem with the monthly data. Once better data is assembled the initial reports tend to be revised downwards. When we see that trend turn around then it will be a “green shoots” moment. (Reuters)

New home sales were up a paltry 0.3% and our friend “downward revision” mentioned above reared his head with regard to the March numbers. They were lowered from 356,000 to 351,000. There were 297,000 unsold homes which represents a 10.1 month supply. (Market Watch

The news on foreclosures and delinquencies is getting bleaker. The delinquency rate jumped to 9.12% from 7.88% according to Bloomberg. One in eight Americans is now either late on their mortgage or in foreclosure. To add salt to that gaping wound, mortgage interest rates are starting to climb. The composition of foreclosures is also changing. Prime mortgages now account for the largest share of homes in foreclosure which represents a complete reversal from last year when subprime dominated. The recession is truly sinking its teeth into America’s homeowners. (Bloomberg)

We have a deep hole to climb out of and it appears as if it’s not getting any shallower.

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