Daily News 3/18/2015

March 18, 2015

Wednesday – March 18

The big event for the week will take place on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. today as the Federal Reserve members are meeting to discuss the current economic environment and monetary policy. The statement will be released at 2:00 p.m. ET with a press conference from Fed Chair Janet Yellen immediately following. So far in 2015, economic data has been on the light side and with inflation running at the lower end of the Fed’s target range of 2%, the Fed members will hold off on raising rates to later in the year.

Oil prices continue to trek lower as crude stockpiles rose to record levels last week. West Texas Intermediate crude fell to levels not seen since March 2009 hitting a low of $42/barrel this morning on the New York Mercantile Exchange in lower Manhattan. The supply of oil has reached levels that could prompt concerns that some areas could run out of space to store oil. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported this week that a key storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma is at the highest capacity levels in about 80 years.

Mortgage application activity continued to decline in the latest week due in part to higher home loan rates. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported on Wednesday that its Market Composite Index, a measure of total loan application volume, fell 3.9% last week after a decline in the prior week. Within the report it showed that the refinance index fell 5% as the refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 59% of total applications, the lowest level since October 2014. Within the next week the spring buying season will be underway, though the purchase index fell 2% in the latest reading.