Economic update for the week ending March 17, 2018

Crude Oil  $62.25  -    Gold  $1,313.90 -    Silver  $16.34   -    EUR/USD  $1.23

Stocks down in another volatile week -  Uncertainty led to another volatile week in U.S. stock markets. Volatility has caused the S&P 500 to lose or gain 1% or more in 9 out of the first 11 weeks of 2018. In comparison, the S&P 500 lost or gained 1% or more in just 13 weeks in all of 2017. Along with political uncertainty, fears of consequences from tariffs, and possible retaliation from other countries against our exports led to the drops this week. Boeing's stock dropped nearly 10% this week based on increased steel and aluminum costs, and a possibility of tariffs being place on Boeing jets by other governments. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 24,946.51, down from last week’s close of 25,335.74. It is up 0.9% year to date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,752.01, down from 2,786.57 last week. It's up 2.9% year to date. The NASDAQ closed at 7,484.99, down from 7,596.81 last week. It is up 8.4% year to date.

Treasury Bond Yields -  Bond yields lower this week. The 10 year Treasury bond closed the week yielding 2.85%, down from 2.90% last week. The 30 year Treasury bond yield ended the week at 3.08%, down from 3.16% last week. We watch bond rates because mortgage rates follow bond rates.

Mortgage Rates slightly lower this week -  The March 15, 2018 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30 year fixed mortgage rate average was 4.44%, down slightly from last week’s 4.46%. The 15 year fixed was 3.90%, down from 3.94% last week. The 5 year ARM was 3.67%, up from 3.63% last week.

13 Things to do before moving into a new home -  Welcome to the ultimate moving checklist. A list of all the things you should do before moving into your new home. Let's face it. With all the excitement of new digs, it's easy to forget some important tasks. Plus, certain things are best done while the house is still vacant, long before your boxes and furniture are parked in the place. Put these things off, and it becomes all the harder to tackle them later. So before you move, or in case you have moved and are wondering how many of these you hit, check out this moving checklist to know what should be done long before you settle in.

  1. Turn on utilities -  Electric, gas, water. Don’t assume they'll be on and operational when you arrive. Instead, get all your utilities set up ahead of time. Chances are the seller will be turning them off as of the closing date.
  2. Set up internet and cable service -  Have your home wired for service before you arrive.
  3. Do a deep clean -  It's never easier to do a deep clean than when the house is empty.
  4.  Change the locks - This is a basic safety measure. However, it can’t be done until after closing.
  5. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors -  Make sure these are functioning properly to protect your new home from fires and other emergencies.
  6. Set up the alarm system -  If the home already has a security system installed, call the provider to confirm that service is set up.
  7. Tackle major home renovations -  The last thing you want to do is have to tiptoe around a construction zone after you move in. So, if you want to repaint the home, resand floors, or make any other renovations, do them in advance. These projects are best done when the house is empty and usually don’t happen once the furniture shows up. One caveat. You have the right to bring in vendors for quotes, but work cannot start until you own the home.
  8. Get a home warranty -  Imagine waking up one morning to a busted boiler or leaking washer in your brand-new home. A home warranty covers the cost of repairing many home appliances, and basic coverage starts at only about $300.
  9. Buy fire extinguishers -  Get one for every level of your home, make sure you know how to use it, and plan an escape route in the event of a fire.
  10. Get to know your new house -  Figure out where the circuit breaker box and main water shut-off valve are before moving in, so you know how to turn off the electricity or water in an emergency. Also, consider labeling your home’s electrical panel.
  11. Childproof the home -  Have little kids? Childproof the home. Every year, millions of children are hospitalized because of accidents around the home. So, before your bundle of joy starts toddling around the house, take steps to fully childproof your new home.
  12. Forward your mail -  Don’t forget to update your address with the United States Postal Service. The postal service charges a $1 fee to verify your identity when changing your address online. Note: The postal service will stop forwarding periodicals to your new address 60 days after you move, so alert magazines and newspapers that you’ve moved.
  13. Update your billing address -  Alert your credit card companies, banks, or any other financial institutions of your new address. Also, if you frequently buy anything from a website, you can avoid a future headache by updating your profile with your new address.

Next week -  Next week's report will include both housing sales data for February, and the results of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting, where it is expecting that The Fed will increase short term interest rates. Stay tuned!

Quote of the week

Tact is the ability to describe others

as they see themselves.

Abraham Lincoln