The markets paid homage to St. Patty’s day by finishing in the green. It was “quadruple witching Friday” wherein futures and options contracts expired today. At the close the Dow was up 72 points to 24,946 on heavy trading volume. For the week the Dow was lower by about 1.5%. IBD has stocks listed in “rally” mode and BTS indicators are still in cash. These signals are indicative of a market that currently has no direction.
February housing starts were lower than expected coming in at 1.236M versus estimates calling for 1.285M. January’s housing starts were revised higher to 1.329M. Building permits also missed estimates and were 1.0M versus 1.377M in January. This was well below the estimates. Despite the lower results Redfin reported that home prices shot up 8.8% year over year marking the fastest pace since March of 2014. The median price of a home across the markets that Redfin covers is $285,700. Inventory remains tighter than a C clamp and the number of homes for sale was down 11.4%.
Consumer confidence remains at record levels. The Wall Street Journal reported consumer confidence at a 14 year high with a reading of 102 up from 99.7 in February. The gurus had been looking for a read of 99.