2) Housing: mortgage activity improving. The MBS said mortgage applications for a home purchase increased by a seasonally adjusted 7.2 percent during the week ended Friday; separately ISI noted their homebuilder survey is at its highest level since March 2006.
Multiple offers on homes! My wife has been a Realtor in Center City, Phila. for 25 years; she has been busier than many years during this Spring buying season. On Sunday, she received multiple offers on a home that she had listed only a couple weeks before. The head of one of the largest mortgage brokers in Philadelphia, an old friend of mine, said business was booming and confirmed that other realtors had also been seeing multiple offers.
3) Gold down...again, to a two-month low. I get so many questions about gold: why is it down if global uncertainty, particularly in Europe, is rising?
Because gold trades largely on uncertainty about the U.S. And there's less of that recently. With the U.S. stronger, and clearly decoupling from Europe, and with the U.S. dollar stronger, and with less chance of QE3, gold has less appeal.
One other point about gold: it also trades on fundamentals of supply and demand. India and China now account for 50 percent of all the gold consumed in the world. To the extent there is concerns about slower growth in those two countries, gold demand will also be affected.
These are ALL U.S.-centered stories. What worries me? What is happening outside the U.S.:
1) Australia reporting a second consecutive month of soft export figures, a modest challenge to the "China soft landing" hypothesis;
2) Indications that India is slowing: both manufacturing and services PMI have seen sharp drops.
3) euro-anxieties rising again, with the 10-year Spanish bond yield at the highest level since January.
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