Daily News 4/29/2015

April 29, 2015

Wednesday – April 29

Harsh weather coupled with the West coast port strike earlier in the year put a big dent in economic growth in the first quarter of 2015. Throw in a strong dollar and it equaled just a 0.2% rise in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The 0.2% was far below the 2.2% recorded in the fourth quarter of 2014.Within the report it revealed that consumer spending sank to 1.9% from the previous reading of 4.4%, and below the 2.3% average gain since the U.S. recovery began in mid-2009.

The report also said that due to the strong dollar, exports declined 7.2%. In addition, because of the fall in oil prices, investments in mining exploration, shafts and wells, for example, plummeted 48%. Many economists expect a rebound in the second quarter and beyond, similar to what took place in 2014. GDP measures the value of the production of goods and services in the U.S., adjusted for price changes.

In housing and mortgage related news, March Pending Home Sales, rose by 1.1%, which was near inline with expectations. Sales are up 11% from the same time last year and are at the highest level since June 2013. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported today that its Market Composite Index, a measure of total home loan applications, fell 2.3% in the week ending April 24, led by a decline in refinancing. The purchase index was unchanged, while the refinance index declined by 4%. A modest rise in home loan rates was a contributing factor.