But the housing market wasn't the only area where we saw positive economic data last week. There was good economic news out of Germany, plus several companies here reported strong earnings, including Procter & Gamble and Honeywell. In addition, weekly Initial Jobless Claims dropped by 5,000 to 330,000 in the latest survey: this is the lowest level since January of 2008. It is important to note that estimates were used for three states, including Virginia and California, so the numbers could be distorted.
- Monday's Durable Goods Orders and Wednesday's Gross Domestic Product Report will give us signs as to how our economy is doing.
- Monday also brings more news on the housing market with Pending Home Sales, which will be followed by Tuesday's Case Shiller 20-city Home Price Index.
- We'll get a sense of how the consumer is feeling with Consumer Confidence on Tuesday and the Consumer Sentiment Index on Friday.
- Thursday brings several key economic reports, including Initial Jobless Claims, Chicago PMI, Personal Income and Spending, and the inflation-reading Core Personal Consumption Expenditure, the Fed's favorite measure of inflation.
- Rounding out the week, the all-important Non-Farm Payrolls will be reported along with the Unemployment Rate. Also on Friday, the ISM Index will be delivered.
Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond that home loan rates are based on.
When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving -- and when they are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.
To go one step further -- a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes were on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.
As you can see in the chart below, Bonds and home loan rates worsened after positive economic data was released last week. I'll continue to watch all the news and market action closely.
Small-business owners are the target of this phishing scheme.
By Cameron Huddleston, Kiplinger.com
The Federal Trade Commission is warning small-business owners not to open e-mails with the subject line "Notification of Consumer Complaint." The e-mail falsely claims to be from the FTC and states that a complaint has been filed with the government agency against their company.
E-mails of this sort often prompt recipients to click on a link or open an attachment. However, these links and attachments usually install malware or a virus on your computer if you click on them. Then you're at risk of having personal information stored on your computer stolen.
The FTC says that you should delete such e-mails. It also offers tips on how to reduce your risk of downloading malicious software onto your computer.
- Keep your security software updated by setting it to update automatically.
- Don't buy software in response to pop-up messages on your computer or e-mails. Scammers use ads that claim to have scanned your computer and detected malware to get people to install malicious software.
- Make sure your Internet browser security setting is high enough to detect unauthorized downloads. For example, Internet Explorer users should have their security setting at medium, at a minimum.
- Use a pop-up blocker on your browser (look for the security tab in your browser's options). Links in pop-ups can contain malware.
See Protect Yourself From New Phishing Schemes for more advice on avoiding fraudulent e-mails.
Reprinted with permission. All Contents ©2013 The Kiplinger Washington Editors. Kiplinger.com