Daily Market Color

Crude Oil Prices Resume Decline, Weigh on Stocks While Housing Data Impresses

Key economic data released on the day included May’s existing home sales, which displayed an unexpected rise from April’s revised reading.  Sales of previously owned homes increased 1.1% last month to a seasonally adjusted pace of 5.62 million, as per the National Association of Realtors.  Additionally, the median house price in the US rose to an all-time high of $252,800, up 5.8% YoY, as a shortage in supply continues to drive average sales prices upwards.  The inventory of available homes has fallen for 24 consecutive months on a YoY basis, with May 2017 recording a 4.2-month supply compared to 4.7-month supply one year earlier.  The average time a home was on the market also declined last month, coming in at 27 days during May and representing the shortest span on record.

Energy markets could not shake their continued bear market trading action during today’s session despite inventories of US crude oil and gasoline dropping more than expected.  As reported by the Energy Information Administration, crude oil stockpiles fell by 2.5 million barrels last week (-1.7mm expected) and gasoline supplies declined by 600,000 barrel (+2.1mm expected), while oil production accelerated to its highest level in nearly two years at 9.35 million barrels per day.  Also failing to trigger a rebound in prices was the announcement out of Saudi Arabia that Mohammed bin Salman, the 31-year-old son of incumbent King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, would be heir to the throne, replacing his cousin, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a veteran security chief.  In the past two years, Mohammed bin Salman has been best known for his bellicose views towards Saudi foreign policy in the region as well as his desire to eliminate the nation’s dependence on oil.  WTI crude tumbled an additional 2.3% on the day to $42.25/barrel while Brent crude slid to roughly $44.50/barrel, both setting new lows for the year.

US stocks markets were weighed down by the fall in energy shares, as the DJIA (-0.27%) and S&P 500 (-0.06%) posted losses while the tech heavy Nasdaq rose 0.74%.  Treasurys held within a tight range throughout the session and yields/swap rates are currently down 1-2 bps across the curve.  The US dollar ended its streak of gains to begin the week, finishing down 0.1% against major currencies.    

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