Housing and Durable Goods Data Mixed

Mortgage Applications (week ended 2/22/2013)

– Purchase Index – Week/Week -5.0%.  Previous 2 weeks were -2.0% and -10.0%.

– Refinance Index – Week/Week -3.0%. Previous 2 weeks were -2.0% and -6.0%.

– Composite Index – Week/Week -3.8%. Previous 2 weeks were -1.7% and -6.4%.

Pending Home Sales Index  (January 2013)

Pending Home Sales Index 105.9. Previous was 101.3.

Housing data recently has been mixed.  Mortgage applications are down 3 weeks in a row, Pending Sales are up, the price indices for December were up but the NAR Existing Home Sales report for January shows prices down.

Durable Goods Orders (January 2013)

– New Orders  Month/Month -5.2%

– Ex-transportation  Month/Month 1.9%

We could be entering a period where investments in machinery replace rather than generate jobs.  Think of robotics such as Amazon uses taking the jobs of Walmart employees for tasks such as restocking and checkout.  IBM envisions computers doing business analytics.  See:  http://www-304.ibm.com/businesscenter/cpe/html0/230318.html Sophisticated robots have an operating cost of about 30 cent/hour and lower health care costs.