Swerb son: Daddy, how is the Easter Bunny going to bring me my Easter basket? I thought bunnies were small?
Swerb: Didn’t mommy explain this to you?
Swerb son: No. I want you to explain it to me.
Swerb: Hmmm. Well son, the Easter Bunny is bigger than other bunnies.
Swerb son: How does he get to every kids house all over the world? Does he have a magic sleigh like Santa?
Swerb: Well, not exactly. I think there are actually a bunch of Easter bunnies. There’s one that visits all the houses here in Ohio.
Swerb son: Well how does he get in the house? Does he come down the chimney like Santa?
Swerb (calls for wife): Honey, can you come in here?
Swerb: Nicholas is wondering how the Easter Bunny gets in the house to deliver the baskets.
Swerb wife: He comes in the door, right?
Swerb: That’s right. He just comes in the door. Silly me.
Swerb son: How does he know what I want in my basket? I didn’t go tell him at the mall like Santa.
Swerb: You want to watch Star Wars?
Swerb son (completely forgets about Easter Bunny): Yes!
Quote of the day …
“President Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan this weekend. I guess after 14 months in Washington, he wanted to go somewhere where there was less fighting.” ~ Jay Leno
All kinds of stuff to get to here today.
Let’s start with what happened yesterday. We had a couple key releases. Most notably the Case-Schiller Home Price Index, which is really the go to barometer any more for home values here in America. The index was underwhelming. Case-Schiller actually releases two indices. One that is seasonally-adjusted (to account for the slower winter months) … and one that is not. The seasonally-adjusted index increased by 0.3%. The non-seasonally adjusted index declined 0.4%. Locally here in Cleveland, the seasonally-adjusted index increased 0.7%, and the non seasonally-adjusted index fell 0.7%.
The feeling out there right now with regards to home prices is that the rebound we saw last fall is fading. And that we need a couple things to happen to have home values start rising again here in America:
1. More homes to start selling, which raise values
2. Less foreclosures, which drag on values
Neither of these things cannot really happen naturally right now. The economy is too weak. Both are dependant on federal intervention. The first time homebuyer tax credit was designed/extended to help #1. And these HAMP programs the Obama administration are rolling are were supposed to help #2, though they haven’t even come close to meeting expectations to this point.
In the other release of note yesterday, the Consumer Confidence Index came in slightly higher than expected. A reading of 51.0 was anticipated, and the actual index came in at 52.5. The Dow Jones had yet another winning day, finishing up 11 points. Mortgage bonds went in the tank after the release of Case-Schiller, falling 11/32 in price, but fought back to finish the day down 7/32, or about 20-25 bps in price.
Today we get three economic releases that could impact the markets. Chicago PMI (a manufacturing index), factory orders, and the ADP private sector jobs report. Economists are predicting ADP’s jobs report will show private-sector employers added 40,000 jobs in March. Remember, on Friday we get the national unemployment report for March. And the ADP report is seen as an early indicator of the Labor Department’s data, though there can be wide variations because it only accounts for private sector jobs.
As far as Friday’s number goes, economists expect it to show employers added about 200,000 jobs in March. It would be only the second monthly increase in jobs since the recession began in late 2007. The number could be somewhat inflated because the government hired temporary workers to conduct the 2010 census.
We’ve hit on it over and over again. These jobs reports are driving the markets right now. We get ADP today, first time jobless claims tomorrow, and the big one Friday morning at 8:30 AM.
~ Home Loan Demand Up as Purchase Activity Gains
~ House Price Index Shows Weakness, Though Cleveland Improves Slightly
~ Consumer Confidence Rebounds, Housing Prices Rise Slightly
~ Fed’s Fisher: Not Yet Time to Sell Assets, Hike Rates
~ TARP Funding to Play Expanded Role in Tackling Housing Crisis
~ Stock Futures Down Slightly Ahead of Open