Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Markets crawl higher before Brexit vote

Dow rose 55, advancers over decliners 5-4 & NAZ added all of 1.  The MLP index was off 1+ to the 314s & the REIT index lost 1 to the 348s.  Junk bond funds inched higher & Treasuries were a little weaker.  Oil gained & gold pulled back slightly.

AMJ (Alerian MLP Index tracking fund)

Crude Oil   50.22   0.37 (0.74%)

Gold     1,267.60   -4.90 (-0.39%)

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Britain entered the final day of campaigning before its referendum on EU membership with opinion polls and financial markets at odds over the outcome.  Investors are piling money into bets on a victory for the “Remain” campaign, led by PM David Cameron.  The £ has surged to a 5-month high & European stocks just posted their biggest 3-day gain in almost a year, with the UK's benchmark index erasing its monthly decline.  Polls say the race is too close to call after a swing toward the “Leave” campaign came to an apparent halt last week following the murder of Labour Party lawmaker Jo Cox, a supporter of staying in the EU.  Less than 24 hours before voting booths open tomorrow, both sides of the campaign are still assuming there's all to play for, & making emotional appeals to the electorate.  A record number of Britons, 46.5M, have registered to vote.

Brexit Polls and Markets Disagree in Campaign’s Final Hours

US home prices rose 5.9% in Apr from a year earlier as job growth spurred competition for a limited number of listings.  Prices climbed 0.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis from Mar, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said.  The estimate was for a 0.6% gain.  Values have increased steadily as buyers, bolstered by an improving labor market & easing mortgage standards, battle for a tight supply of homes on the market.  Inventory at the end of Apr was down 3.6% from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors.  Prices rose from a year earlier in all regions, led by the Pacific with an 8.6% increase.  The FHFA index measures transactions for single-family properties financed with mortgages owned or securitized by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. The national median price of an existing single-family home was $233K in Apr, up 6.2% from a year earlier, according to the Realtors group.

U.S. Home Prices Increased 5.9% in April From Year Earlier

The IMF cut its forecast for US growth this year, urging the Federal Reserve to lean toward modestly overshooting its inflation target in considering whether the economy can handle higher interest rates.  The IMF said the US economy will grow 2.2% this year, less than its projection of 2.4% in Apr.  The fund left unchanged its forecast for a 2.5% expansion in 2017.  There’s a clear case for the Fed to proceed on a "very gradual" path in raising its benchmark rate, the IMF said.  “The path for policy rates should accept some modest, temporary overshooting of the Fed’s inflation goal to allow inflation to approach the Fed’s 2 percent medium-term target from above,” the fund added.  A dovish tilt will ensure against the risk of disinflation & the possibility the central bank may have to reverse course & lower rates to zero, the IMF added.  The Fed last week signaled it would raise rates more gradually than anticipated amid concerns about slow job gains & the potential exit of the UK from the EU.

IMF Cuts U.S. Growth Forecast, Urges ‘Very Gradual’ Rate Hikes

Not much happening in the stock market toady as traders await for the vote tomorrow.  Dow is still stuck at 17.9K.

Dow Jones Industrials


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