Finally, a little economic news to chew on. First up, PPI, inflation at the wholesale level grew .7% in march while the core index was plus .1%. Gas and food were the drivers of the headline number, up 2.1% and 2.4% respectfully. The “core” index strips out food and energy which is why that component is nearly flat. Given the numbers, we see very little inflation at hand or in the pipeline.
Weekly Unemployment Claims were also released, posting a drop of 24K. The level however remains stubbornly high at 456K, an indication that it will take some time to turn this Titanic around. Existing Home Sales, a piece of data near and dear to our hearts rose 6.8% to 5.35 million annualized. Inventory rose as well, up 1.5% which represents 8 months of supply. With the 8K buyers credit saying adios later this month, long term projections for a housing recovery are murky. We shall see.
Last but not least was the FHFA Purchase only House Price Index. Overall, the index was off .2% in February and down 3.4% year on year. Prices declined in the South Atlantic, New England, and West North Central areas while modest increases were seen in the Middle Atlantic, Pacific, and West South Central regions. High inventory levels due to foreclosures will continue to put this index under pressure.
Earlier today, treasury yields fell to their lowest levels in a month as Greece continues to slip into the ocean. Yields on Greek 2 year notes are now over 11% as their yield curve inverts. That’s the technical term for going on life support before someone pulls the plug. Stocks are also in the soup, down 74 points on the Dow. A couple of missed earnings reports and a sack of rotten Gyros did the trick.