US stocks trade mixed with Nasdaq at a record high as investors weigh recovery signals

Stock Market

US stocks closed mixed on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 making turning lower late in the day while the Nasdaq ended at a record high.

“US stocks are stabilizing as investors are clearly in wait-and-see mode over the current wave of inflationary pressures,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, said in a statement. “Equities have quickly bounced back from last week’s Fed-induced selloff as investors quickly realize interest rates will not move anytime soon.”

Equities were up and down throughout the day, dipping lower after Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said the central bank could raise rates in 2022, as well as start tapering asset purchases in the near term. He also said higher inflation in the US could last up to nine month.

The US 10-year Treasury note was last at 1.492%. On Tuesday, yields fell 2 basis points, responding to the Fed’s more tempered policy outlook.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Wednesday:

Microsoft still has 23% upside potential even after it surpassed a $2 trillion valuation on Tuesday, according to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. He also increased his price target to $325 from $310 and reiterated his “outperform” rating on the stock.

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac plunged as much as 45% following a ruling from the Supreme Court. In a 7-2 decision, the court gave the US President authority to remove the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, complicating the prospects for their release from government control.

Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency space has been recovering from its most recent sell-off.

Bitcoin staged a rebound after wiping out all its gains for 2021 at one point the day prior. The world’s largest cryptocurrency climbed as much as 6% to $34,821.53.

Cathie Wood’s ARK ETFs took advantage of last week’s crypto carnage to load up on shares of Coinbase and Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, fund filings show.

Crypto exchange FTX announced it is partnering with Major League Baseball to become the first cryptocurrency exchange sponsor in professional sports.

Oil rose ahead of a meeting of the OPEC+ group next week.

West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 0.48% to $73.20 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, jumped by $0.57% to $75.24 – edging to its highest since late 2018.

Gold slightly rose 0.03% to $1,778.03 per ounce.

Lumber fell as much as 3% to $859.8 per thousand board feet, extending the fall beneath $900 as the commodity’s rally continues to cool off.

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5 warning signs in the real-estate market that recall the mid-2000s housing bubble

housing
  • Several gauges of housing market activity mirror trends seen just before the bubble burst in 2008.
  • Experts see the current boom as far safer than the prior rally, citing stronger lending requirements.
  • Still, here are trends ranging from home prices to construction activity that resemble 2005 and 2006.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Housing-market monitors keep repeating the phrase “since 2005,” except when it’s “since 2006.” That’s worrying – both superlatives refer back to the peak of a historic real-estate bubble.

Low mortgage rates and massive demand have powered a supercharged rally for US housing over the last year. Americans snapped up nearly all the available supply of new and previously owned homes amid huge population shifts from cities to suburbs. Chronic underbuilding after the financial crisis left contractors struggling to meet the new demand with adequate supply. That imbalance has since pushed selling prices skyhigh.

The boom’s frenetic nature has led many to compare the current market with that seen just before the infamous 2008 crash. Experts have been quick to note that, while some similarities exist, the latest price surge has more to do with a lack of inventory than dubious lending standards.

“I don’t see the kind of financial stability concerns that really do reside around the housing sector,” Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said last month. “We don’t see bad loans and unsustainable prices and that kind of thing.”

But just because the market looks different on a macro level doesn’t mean there aren’t strong similarities to the period just before the bubble burst. Here are five housing-market signals flashing the same signs seen about 15 years ago.

(1) CoreLogic Home Price Index

Possibly the most basic indicator of just how much demand has outstripped supply is nationwide price indexes.

The headline price gauge for housing-data authority CoreLogic soared 11.3% year-over-year in March, according to a Tuesday report. That marks an acceleration from the February rate of 10.4% and the fastest rate of price growth since March 2006. On a month-over-month basis, prices rose 2% from their February levels.

The financial analytics firm sees that momentum cooling over the next year. A persistent wearing-away of home affordability will likely curtail some purchases, and accelerated construction will shore up supply in the months ahead, CoreLogic said. Still, year-over-year price growth should reach 3.5% as lingering demand keeps the rally alive, Frank Martell, the president and CEO of CoreLogic, said in a statement.

“With prospective buyers continuing to be motivated by historically low mortgage rates, we anticipate sustained demand in the summer and early fall,” he said.

(2) S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index

Separately, a more city-focused measure of home-price inflation notched a similar reading last week. Home prices in metropolitan areas gained 12% year-over-year in February, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index, the headline index of US home prices for more than three decades. The reading signals the strongest price growth since 2006 and edged slightly higher from the prior annual gain of 11.2%.

Inflation was broad-based. All 20 cities saw home prices climb, and 19 cities saw year-over-year price growth accelerate from January to February. Prices rose the most in Phoenix, San Diego, and Seattle, according to S&P.

(3) Selling prices for new vs. previously owned homes

Digging deeper into home sales reveals an unusual phenomenon unseen since the previous boom. For the first time since 2005, Americans spent more on previously owned single-family homes than on new construction, according to March housing data from the Census Bureau and the National Association of Realtors.

The dynamic signals Americans are prioritizing buying any available home instead of hunting down a new unit.

To be sure, monthly sales data is volatile and the premium for new homes could reemerge in April data. But with supply still under pressure and CoreLogic’s Tuesday report showing prices broadly climbing higher last month, the phenomenon might linger for some time.

(4) Home starts

As gauges of market demand soar to 15-year highs, so have measures of upcoming supply. Housing starts surged nearly 20% in March as contractors rushed to address the lack of new homes for sale. The leap places the annual rate of starts at its highest since 2006 and serves as the largest month-over-month gain since 1990. Permits for new residential construction also increased, albeit at a slower rate.

The rebound was somewhat prompted by winter storms curbing construction activity in February. But for the most part, a historic shortage of available homes fueled the pickup in building. Just 1.07 million existing homes were up for sale in March. That sum, at the current purchase rate, would be snapped up in only two months.

Homebuying has slowed from its pandemic-era peak, giving contractors slightly more time to meet the elevated demand. With millennials hitting peak homebuying age and lumber prices expected to decline, some economists see the rebound in construction paving the way for more moderate price growth.

(5) Home equity take-out

The sustained acceleration of home price growth has also lead owners to take out equity at the same rate seen in the mid-2000s. Homeowners refinancing their mortgages pulled roughly $50 billion in equity out of their homes throughout the fourth quarter of 2020, according to data from Freddie Mac and the Urban Institute.

Mortgage rates, while still at historically low levels, reversed their pandemic-era decline through the first quarter as investors braced for the economic recovery to give way to higher borrowing costs. Those higher rates erased the rate-reduction incentive for refinancing, making equity take-out the top reason to refinance, the Urban Institute said in a report published April 27.

Although equity take-out on its own is normal, the sharp uptick seen last year could be cause for concern. Some economists have criticized the Fed’s ultra-accommodative policy for encouraging risk-taking across various markets. Increased equity take-out presents new financial risks for participating homeowners since a decline in home prices from their skyhigh levels could cut deeply into their balance sheets.

And while equity take-out sits at its 2005 level, it is still well below the 2006 peak. Yet with mortgage rates expected to climb over the next few years, take-out refinancing could accelerate further.

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