As many expected, the lack of major economic data and heavy earnings led to the major equity indices trading roughly flat for the session. Fortunately there weren't a whole slew of profit takers today; seems that many investors were still looking for a third rally-day. Also, the flat trading didn't stop the NASDAQ from hitting another 14-year intraday high in the earlier trading hours. Tomorrow will be interesting to watch as the final reading for the US Q2-2014 gross domestic product (GDP) will be released. In the meantime, there was only one major economic release today, and it isn't normally considered a market mover.
The Mortgage Bankers' Association (MBA) released the weekly US Purchase Applications report for the week ended August 22nd. For the past few weeks, applications for US home mortgages have been increasing. This was especially highlighted in the most recent report with demand for purchase loans and refinancing loans being heightened. The MBA composite index rose 2.8% after increasing 1.4% the prior week. Ultimately, we'd like to see a recovery in the purchase component as that is a much healthier economic sign than the refinancing component. It's more apparent in the chart below, which shows the week-over-week changes in the purchase and refinancing components. Earlier in the year, the weekly changes were quite wild, but towards the end of the summer the changes are becoming smaller and less volatile. Although there has been some disappointing housing data out in the past few months, there may be some hope that the housing sector will recover marginally going into the latter-half of the year.