EconUpdate by P. Duffy
Purchase loan apps rebound 7 percent from previous week even as rates rise
The Market Composite Index for mortgage apps decreased 1.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans rising 7 percent (and up 2 percent year-on-year) but refinance activity falling 5 percent (and down 43 percent year-on-year). The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances increased to 3.26 percent from 3.23 percent.
CPI up another 0.4 percent in February and 1.7 percent year-on-year
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.4 percent in February, and was up 1.7 percent year-on-year before seasonal adjustment. The monthly increase was largely due to rising energy costs. The ‘core’ index minus food and energy rose 0.1 percent in February, and was up 1.3 percent year-on-year, with the annual increase driven largely by increases for used cars and trucks.
February Small Business Optimism Index edges up 0.8 points to 95.8
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose to 95.8 in February, a slight bump from January but still below the 47-year average reading of 98. The NFIB Uncertainty Index decreased five points to 75. Forty percent of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, an increase of seven points from January.