"Builders are seeing a noticeable increase in the number of serious buyers entering the market,” says NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, after his firm's Housing Market Index rises to 55 this month. Challenges still remain, he adds, noting tight credit, and shortages of finished lots and labor.
The HMI's three sub-components all rose in August, with the current sales conditions and expectations for future sales gauges each ahead by two points to 58 and 65, respectively. The gauge of traffic for prospective buyers added three points to 42.
Russia may impose restrictions or a ban on vehicle imports from Western countries, if the U.S. and EU impose additional sanctions on Moscow, Reuters reports quoting the Vedomosti.
The paper says that the proposals have already been sent to Putin for consideration but no decision has been made yet.
The new ban, however, would not apply to foreign automakers' production inside Russia. Ford (NYSE:F), Volkswagen (OTCQX:VLKAY), Renault (OTC:RNSDF), Toyota (NYSE:TM) and Hyundai (OTC:HYMLF) all have production facilities inside the country.
Unless he's talking about hitting 2.2% today, it's not such an outlandish prediction given the big rally in Treasury prices of late. On the session, the 10-year yield is lower by a full seven basis points to 2.33%.
As for 2%, Gundlach - speaking on a CNBC interview - doesn't think we'll get there, but momentum is a hard thing to judge, and there's plenty pushing yields lower right now.
"I see the labor markets as remaining some way from meeting the FOMC's goal of full employment," says Minneapolis Fed boss Kocherlakota, not buying the sharp drop in headline unemployment as an indicator of strength in the jobs market. While he sees the headline rate maybe dropping to 5.7% this year from 6.2% currently, he's in no rush to tighten policy.
Kocherlakota is instead looking at indicators like too many people aged 25-54 not working, and a high percentage of workers saying they can only find part-time employment.
As for inflation, he expects it to stay below the Fed's 2% target until 2018.
Bill Ackman's Pershing Square has sued the U.S. government, claiming that its stripping of Fannie Mae's (OTCQB:FNMA) and Freddie Mac's (OTCQB:FMCC) profit illegally short changes investors in the mortgage companies' common stock.
Hedge funds have previously sued the government over the two, although most of those lawsuits focused on the companies' preferred stock.
Pershing is accusing the government's "brazen" practice since 2012 of funneling virtually all profit from Fannie and Freddie to the U.S. Treasury Department.
Observers say sentiment changed in early August as institutional buyers stepped in hunting for bargains.
Example: Gulfport Energy (NASDAQ:GPOR) this week increased a $250M junk bond offering to $300M, giving it more cash to pay down its revolving credit line and for other general corporate purposes.
Also, a debut bond offering for XPO Logistics (NYSE:XPO) priced at par to yield 7.875%, at the issuer-friendly end of the original suggested 7.875%-8.125% range.
Many investors this year have expressed concerns that a pullback in junk bond prices could signal that market participants are rethinking their willingness to take risk, and the latest inflows could ease some of the concerns.
"The end of 2015 Q1 is still my preferred liftoff date," St. Louis Fed chief Jim Bullard tells the WSJ. A March rate hike is well ahead of the H2 timetable being signaled by Janet Yellen and the broader FOMC, but Bullard says the Fed is now closer to its twin goals of 2% inflation and low unemployment than had been previously expected.
Investors should fear the Fed falling behind the curve on inflation, he says, as "that's certainly been the history of the institution."
Fearing no such falling behind the curve at the moment, the 10-year Treasury yield continues at a 15-month low of 2.40%.
Initial jobless claims rising 21K to 311K makes for a good excuse for headline writers, but action elsewhere may be of more import as German 10-year Bund yields slipped below 1% for the first time ever amid stalled EU Q2 GDP growth. The Bund yield has since popped back to 1.01%, off two basis points on the day.
The U.S. 10-year yield is currently down three basis points to just under 2.40%, its lowest on a closing basis since June 2013. Up later, Treasury will sell $16B of 30-year bonds.