U.S. Markets Rebound As Apple’s 1st Quarter 2012 Earnings Beat Street With Mixed Economic Data:
Housing market data was marginally negative today as the Case Schiller index reached new lows. February 2012 housing prices reached levels that haven’t been seen since 2002 which suggests homebuyers are still looking for bargains, finding it difficult to obtain credit or feel prices could even fall further. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price index in February 2012 fell by 3.6 percent for the 10 city composites and 3.5 percent for the 20-city composites.
We think the Case Shiller news sent conflicting signals to traders when the data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency surprised to the upside.
FHFA Data Conflicts with February 2012 Case Shiller:
The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s price index gained 0.3 percent in March 2012 from the prior month. The gains were a positive sign that the housing market is nearing a bottom although few analysts want to be the first to claim it’s “over”.
Consumer sentiment fell in April 2012 according to the Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence. Their index dropped marginally to from 69.5 to a reading of 69.2.
The economic headlines played a backseat to earnings news from Apple which beat expectations today- read more here…
The housing and consumer sentiment data released today didn’t seem to change short term sentiment as much as Apple’s earnings as an economic indicator. Unemployment data has been negative recently but people are buying Apple products. This won’t last if jobs news doesn’t improve markedly soon. We believe April 2012 employment numbers based on initial jobless claims would need to move up significantly for monthly unemployment numbers to increase after not so stellar weekly numbers.
We will be watching jobless claims numbers on Thursday April 26, 2012 carefully to see if trends break recent weekly rangeboundedness.