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A RALLY TO BUILD A DREAM ON - By Jennifer Coombs

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We are seeing the market is lift off from the lows of last week to new highs during today's trading session; the S&P 500 managed to reach a new all-time intraday high. Following its earnings release this morning, Boeing (NYSE:BA) became the major laggard in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. In fact, if the BA component was omitted, the index would be pushing all-time highs. Oddly enough, the markets did not trend significantly lower after Pro-Russian separatists shot down two Ukrainian fighter jets today in the same eastern region where Malaysian Air Flight MH17 was destroyed not even a week ago. Puma Biotechnology (NYSE:PBYI) served as a major lift factor in the medical sector, today. Shares of PBYI soared over 275% higher today after the company announced that it had some promising results in trials of a new breast cancer drug which improved survival rates by 33% compared to a placebo. However, it was the high volume of earnings results that was the major driver of the market today, which was practically devoid of economic releases, save one.

The Mortgage Bankers' Association (MBA) weekly-purchase applications index measures applications among mortgage lenders, and is a leading indicator for single-family home sales and housing construction. For the previous week ending July 18th, the purchase index edged 0.3% higher, but follows an 8.0% decline in the prior week. Year-on-year, the index is down 15.0%. The overall trend for the purchase index is flat, at the very best, and does not offer a positive signal for underlying home sales. The refinance index rose 4.0% in the week and rates were steady with the average 30-year mortgage for conforming loans ($417,000 or less) unchanged in the week at 4.33%. The seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, increased 2.4% in the week, and as the chart below indicates, there is no obvious near-term trend for the mortgage space.