Stocks traded higher for a second straight day on hopes the Federal Reserve chief will confirm expectations of easier monetary policy at a central banking summit this week.US Marketsread more
"My sense was we've added accommodation, and it wasn't required in my view," George tells CNBC's Steve Liesman.Investingread more
Apple plans to unveil three new iPhones in September, including two new "Pro" models and a successor to the iPhone XR, Bloomberg reported Thursday.Technologyread more
Corporate profits posted modest growth in the second quarter as companies brace for slowing global growth.Retailread more
Kraft has filed a contempt motion against the CFTC over a press release announcing the $16 million fine to settle claims of manipulating wheat prices.Food & Beverageread more
Former Prudent Bear Fund manager David Tice is urging investors to brace for a massive downturn.Trading Nationread more
A ruling against J&J could mean more big payouts in similar cases across the country.Health and Scienceread more
Democratic candidates face a Wednesday deadline to qualify for the September debate.2020 Electionsread more
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said a solution to the Irish "backstop" is possible before the October 31 Brexit deadline.Europe Economyread more
Target shares closed Wednesday up more than 20%, after the retailer reported impressive profit growth and a spike in traffic that surpassed analysts' expectations.Retailread more
"If I could borrow without paying any interest, or ever pay the money back, I would borrow as much as I could, too," the 'Trumponomics' co-author says.Economyread more
The housing recovery appears to be making a U-turn as mortgage rates rise amid a critically low supply of homes for sale.
Pending home sales, which measure signed contracts, not closings, fell 4.7 percent in January compared with December, according to the National Association of Realtors. It is the lowest point in nearly four years.
The weakness was nationwide, and December's reading was also revised lower. Pending sales, which are an indicator of future closings, were 3.8 percent lower than January 2017.
"The economy is in great shape, most local job markets are very strong and incomes are slowly rising, but there's little doubt last month's retreat in contract signings occurred because of woefully low supply levels and the sudden increase in mortgage rates," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors. "The lower end of the market continues to feel the brunt of these supply and affordability impediments."
Not only are home prices increasing at a faster clip, mortgage rates are now half a percentage point higher than they were at the start of this year. They began rising in January and have yet to retreat.
"With the cost of buying a home getting more expensive and not enough inventory, some prospective buyers are either waiting until listings increase come spring or now having to delay their search entirely to save up for a larger down payment," Yun said.
Despite the drop in signed contracts, Realtors reported strong buyer traffic in January, but the number of listings fell to an all-time low, down 9.5 percent compared with January 2017. Adding to the inventory drought, home sellers are now staying in their homes longer, an average of 10 years, which is an all-time high since the Realtors began tracking this measure in 1981.
Pending home sales in the Northeast fell 9 percent for the month and were down 12.1 percent compared with a year ago. In the Midwest, sales fell 6.6 percent monthly and 4.1 percent annually. Pending home sales in the South declined 3.9 percent for the month and were 1.1 percent lower than last January. Sales in the West were down 1.2 percent monthly and 2.5 percent annually.
The housing market clearly needs more new construction, and homebuilders are increasing production, but slowly and mostly in the move-up market, not at the entry level.
Sales of newly built homes fell sharply in January, and while builders are expecting an increase in sales over the next six months, they did not report any increase in buyer traffic through their models in February, according to a monthly survey by the National Association of Home Builders.