Chart of the Day: One Really Good Reading, Amid Otherwise Uninspiring Data

On balance, today’s data deluge wasn’t much to write home about: Mortgage purchase apps were down 4% week-on-week, retail sales missed economists’ estimates, business inventories slowed, the Fed’s Beige Book (an anecdotal report comprised of inputs from each of the 12 Federal Reserve districts released 2 weeks before each policy meeting) characterized economic activity as “slight to modest”, and the Treasury International Capital Report showed foreign investors selling long-term U.S. securities in a big way in August (net -$41.1 billion).

All that said (reported) however, home builders presently paint quite the positive picture of the state of the U.S. economy.

The Housing Market Index, which captures U.S. home builders’ sentiment, came in way ahead of economists’ expectations; jumping 3 points vs. September’s survey result to 71 (50 is the dividing line between expansion and recessionary readings).

This says good things about the present financial state of the U.S. consumer. Of course it also speaks to historically-low mortgage rates:

Chart Source: Bespoke Investment Group


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