housing market austinA quiet, yet positive trade has developed today with month’s end and nasty weather setting in. Earlier this morning, S & P Case Shiller Home Price Indices continued to set new record lows as the 10-City Index fell 27% and the 20-City Index fell 25%. Phoenix and Las Vegas posted the largest declines, year-on-year of 33% and 32%, respectively. Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego followed with declines between 26% and 31%. Dallas and Denver were the best of the worst, but still posted record-month declines. All 20 cities posted yearly price declines.

Consumer Confidence for January was also released, falling to 37.7, a new record low. Rising unemployment seems to have displaced any confidence we might have gained when the Obama administration took over. Looking to the positive, the FOMC has started day one of their two-day meeting; no doubt talking about how to finance the stimulus package(s) and how to help grow the economy.

With the Fed Funds target rate at zero, the Fed will need to use more “aggressive” tools to stabilize the economy. Watch for the policy statement tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. CST. It will tell the tale of the tape. Just got a tip that the Fed is in-buying 1.7 billion of our paper. Look for a price change for the better. Other than that, the market is too fragile to move higher (mortgage rates), yet too over-bought to go lower.

Expect the tight-range trade to continue.