US Stocks fell this week due to concerns about weak growth especially after Wednesday’s report of falling durable goods orders in February. Surging new home sales and falling initial claims for unemployment did little to shore up these concerns. Foreign stocks generally performed better than US stocks as foreign markets ended mixed. Treasury prices fell as interest rates rose and commodities were generally higher. In particular this week:
- The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of previously owned homes increased 1.2% in February and 4.7% from the previous year. Rising home prices and lack of inventory were cited as limiting the increase.
- The Commerce Department reported that:
- New home sales rose 7.8% in February from January and January’s figures were revised up. The annual pace of new home sales in February was 539,000, a seven year high.
- Durable goods orders declined a seasonally adjusted 1.4% in February.
- The Labor Department reported:
- The consumer-price index rose in February by 0.2% marking the first rise since October and the biggest rise since last June. February prices excluding food and energy also rose 0.2%. Year over year consumer prices were flat but excluding food and energy prices rose 1.7%.
- Initial claims for unemployment fell 9,000 to 282,000 better than expectations. The four week moving average of claims fell by 7,750 to 297,000.