From stuart Crawford at VIP Mortgage:
The economic data released over the past week was generally better than expected. Strength was seen in retail sales, the labor market, and consumer sentiment. As a result, mortgage rates ended the week a little higher, but they remain near the best levels of the year.
After a slow start to the year, Friday's report on retail sales went a long way to increase optimism about stronger economic growth during the second quarter. April retail sales jumped 0.8% from March, which was far more than expected and was the largest monthly gain in nearly a year. The results for March also were revised higher.
Despite what appeared to be a weak report on jobless claims, last week’s labor market data was encouraging. A spike in jobless claims was seen, but this was due to a strike at Verizon. Nice gains were seen in the JOLTS report, which measures job openings and labor turnover rates. The JOLTS report helps to provide a broader picture of the performance of the labor market. Job openings in March increased to levels which were very close to record highs. The "quits rate" also was at levels consistent with a healthy labor market. Employees are more likely to voluntarily leave their jobs if they are confident that they will find a better job.
Looking ahead this week, we have Housing Starts, Industrial Production, Existing Home Sales, and the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a widely followed monthly inflation report. The Fed Minutes from the April 27th meeting will come out on Wednesday. These detailed minutes provide additional insight into the debate between Fed officials and have the potential to significantly move markets.
Stuart can be reached at 480.776.2954