Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is expected to stop over in the U.S. on Friday on her way back from visiting diplomatic allies in the Caribbean, a move that's sure to make...China Politicsread more
Regional stability, oil prices and potential for war will all depend on what Iran does with its nuclear program in the event of the deal's termination.World Politicsread more
Libra and bitcoin are different in a lot of ways, from the technology behind them to the way they're used.Technologyread more
Stocks in major Asia Pacific markets made strong gains on Friday, as comments from a U.S. Federal Reserve official led to rising expectations the central bank could ease...Asia Marketsread more
Boeing will take a nearly $5 billion charge in the second quarter to compensate 737 Max customers as the planes remain grounded.Airlinesread more
Earlier, Williams delivered a speech at the annual meeting of the Central Bank Research Association in which he said, "It's better to take preventative measures than to wait...The Fedread more
The base version of the sports car will punch out 495 horsepower, 40 more than the seventh-generation car and enough to launch it from 0 to 60 in "less than three seconds"...Autosread more
Animation fans and Kyoto residents gathered at the site of Japan's worst mass killing in 18 years on Friday, offering flowers and prayers for the 33 people who died in an...Asia Newsread more
Trump said the USS Boxer destroyed Iran's drone in the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday in a "defensive action."Politicsread more
Microsoft beat on top and bottom lines, and guidance was just ahead of expectations, but the company's Azure growth is slowing down.Technologyread more
"We've seen Netflix stumble before, especially maybe after a price hike, but not quite like this," Jim Cramer says.Mad Money with Jim Cramerread more
The nation's single-family home builders are feeling a lot better about their business, even as mortgage rates move higher. A monthly sentiment index hit the highest level in July since November of 2005, matching June's revised level.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) came in at 60; 50 is the line between positive and negative sentiment. The index was at 53 in July of 2014. June's reading was revised higher from 59 to 60.
"This month's reading is in line with recent data showing stronger sales in both the new and existing home markets as well as continued job growth," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "However, builders still face a number of challenges, including shortages of lots and labor."
That sentiment was echoed in the latest survey of economic conditions by the Federal Reserve, known as the Beige Book:
"Firms from several districts continued to describe shortages for particular types of skilled labor, predominantly in the construction industry."
Builders have benefited from a tight supply of existing homes for sale, which has given them significant pricing power, but some builders are reporting more pushback from buyers lately. Of the three HMI sentiment index components, current sales conditions rose one point to 66, expectations of sales in the next six months rose two points to 71, but buyer traffic dropped one point to 43, still mired in negative territory.
Another monthly reading released Thursday showed a one percent increase month-to-month in mortgage applications to purchase new homes in June. That report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) does not include seasonal adjustments.
"Application activity in June was slightly higher compared to the past two years, leading us to estimate that new homes sales increased 8 percent from May on a seasonally adjusted annual basis," said Lynn Fisher, MBA's vice president of research and economics.
While home construction has been increasing steadily, it is nowhere near historical norms, nor is it even close to demand levels. Builders are still very cautious, perhaps too cautious, according to investors in the sector.
"There's not a ton of building going on, leverage in the system is reasonable and we still think this economic cycle has a bit of a ways to go," said Jonathan Gray, global head of real estate at Blackstone at the Delivering Alpha conference presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor. "That's why we're optimistic."
Regionally, on a three-month running average, builder confidence in the West and Northeast each rose three points to 60 and 47, respectively. The South and Midwest posted respective one-point gains to 61 and 55.