house-buildingMarkets are mixed to start the week as stocks are positive and bonds/mortgage backs are not so positive. Early news on the economy was bearish as Caterpillar announced layoffs of 20K plus, Home Depot of 7K, and a few others pink slipped another 1K or more. Even McDonalds reported sales off 23% on a global basis. Forget about cutting the dividend, my nephews are worried about cutting the toys in Happy Meals. No doubt, the recession is effecting just about everyone.

Early trade had stocks off and bonds unchanged to plus a tick or two. Then Leading Economic Indicators and Existing Home Sales were released. Existing Home Sales caught the most attention, posting sales up 6.5% to 4.74 million units. The surprisingly positive release followed through as inventories fell by 11.7%. The only depressing number within the release was the median sales price which fell to $175,400.00. All regions of the country has positive gains with the exception of the Northeast, which fell 1.0%. Good news on the housing front yet traders are still apprehensive as one month does not make a trend.

Leading Economic Indicators surprised to the upside as well, rising .3% in December. Economists expected the print to fall .3%. In December, 5 of the 10 components has increases, the most since April 2008. Although the number looks good on the surface, once we strip out the effects of the money supply, the number would have been a minus .7%. The week ahead will be jam packed with data (see attached) along with 70 billion in Treasury supply (cash management bills through 20 year TIPS) hitting the auction block. Could give us a nervous, volatile week. Currently, the 10 year note is down 11/32’s, trading at a yield of 2.66%. Mortgage backs are off 4/32’s and stocks are plus 99 points in the big board.

Buckle up, could be a wild week.