Mortgage Market News

Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest levels since 1973 as the sector continues to improve ... albeit with slow wage growth. Weekly Initial Jobless Claims declined 13,000 in the latest week to 253,000, below the 268,000 expected. The four-week moving average, which irons out seasonal abnormalities, decreased to 265,000 last week from 266,500. The report measures the number of people who are filing or have filed to receive first-time unemployment insurance benefits, as reported weekly by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Consumer inflation was tame in March after an increase in February, despite the uptick in gas prices at the pumps.The March Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.1%, below the 0.3% expected. The Core rate, which strips out volatile food and energy, also rose by 0.1%, below the 0.2% estimated. Gas prices were higher last month, offset by lower costs for clothing, furniture and used cars, while the cost for housing, medical care and cigarettes edged higher. On an annual basis, the headline CPI rose 0.9%, while Core was up 2.2%. Estimates called for CPI to rise 1%, Core 2.3%. CPI measures the average price level paid by urban consumers (80% of population) for a fixed basket of goods and services.
In corporate earnings, Bank of America reported that profits fell 13% in the first quarter, though earnings per share beat estimates, $0.21 versus the $0.20 expected. Revenues were lower than expected. Wells Fargo also reported that profits declined in the first quarter, but the bank saw earnings per share of $0.99 versus the $0.97 expected, while revenues were also higher than expected. Banks are saying that the consumer is healthy, though the banking business is tough.
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