Daily Market Color

New Home Sales Data Propels U.S. Markets

New home sales figures from July came in unexpectedly high today at 654,000, 12.4% higher than the previous month, and significantly above economists’ projections of 580,000.  The report attributed the strongest numbers to the Southern region, where new home sales rose 18.1%.  The overall levels were the highest since November 2007 as continued low interest rates and easing credit, coupled with employment gains, encouraged home purchases.  The housing data overshadowed the release of Manufacturing PMI, which came in slightly lower than expectations at 52.1, and advanced equity markets, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq touching record highs.  Crude oil prices also rose today, erasing losses from the beginning of the day, on speculation that Iran is considering enacting a production freeze in coherence with other OPEC members.

Abroad, European Composite PMI reported a rise for the second consecutive month, up 0.1 points to 53.3.  The figure added to the Euro-area statistics reported last week that oppose the perception of an economic slowdown following the British referendum.  All major European indexes finished up for the day, experiencing the largest gains from U.K. homebuilding companies and Italian banks.  In the Middle East, Turkey’s central bank made efforts to boost growth by reducing the overnight lending rate by 25bp to 8.5%, marking the sixth straight cut by the committee.  In Asia, markets were mixed with Japanese equities finishing down on the day as the yen strengthened against the dollar, touching below 100 per USD at one point.     
All three major U.S. indexes are trading up close to 0.40% while Treasury yields and swap rates are relatively unchanged across the curve, with the 10-year Treasury hovering around 1.55%.  WTI and Brent crude prices rose to $48.10 and $50 a barrel, respectively.

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