Economic update for the week ending December 15, 2018

Crude Oil  $51.23   -   Gold  $1,238.10    -    Silver  $14.49    -     EUR/USD  $1.13

Stocks ended the week down -  Signs of a slowing economy in Asia and Europe wiped out gains earlier in the week as stocks fell 2% on Friday. Earlier in the week it looked like stocks would end the week higher as investors felt more optimistic that a trade deal would be worked out with China after President Trump tweeted that progress has been made, and talks with China have been productive. An inflation report showed inflation in check which lowers the risk of higher interest rates. Unfortunately, Friday’s reports that showed weakness in Asia and Europe wiped out the earlier weekly gains, and stocks had another losing week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 24,100.51, down from 24,338.94 last week. It was down 1.2% for the week and is now down 2.5% year to date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,599.95, down from 2,633.08 last week. It was down 1.3% for the week and is down 2.8% year to date. The NASDAQ closed the week at 6,910.77, down from 6,969.25 last week. It was down 08% for the week and down 0.1% year to date.


Treasury Bond Yields unchanged this week -  The 10 year Treasury bond closed the week yielding 2.89%, up slightly from 2.85%  last week. The 30 year Treasury bond yield ended the week at 3.14%, unchanged from 3.14% last week. We watch Treasury bond yields because mortgage rates follow bond yields.


Mortgage rates dropped to the lowest level in three months -  The December 13, 2018 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30 year fixed mortgage rate average was 4.63%, down from 4.75% last week. The 15 year fixed was 4.07%, down from 4.21% last week. The 5 year ARM was 4.04%, down from 4.07% last week. Rates ended the week even lower.


Important things to do before selling your house -  Getting ready to sell your house? Then it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to work! Selling a home, after all, entails a whole lot more than just planting a "For Sale" sign on your front lawn or uploading a few random photos of your place, especially if you’re aiming for the most cash. And, honestly, who isn’t? So before asking me to put your house on the market, please peruse this checklist of things to do in preparation. Some of these tips are surprisingly easy, while others might require a bit more elbow grease. But they're bound to pay off once buyers start loving your place, and hopefully making a great offer.