Market Update

May 27, 2014

Rising home values are cooling off a bit as prices come back down to more normal levels after the big gains seen in 2013. The March Case Shiller 20-city Index rose by an annual rate of 12.4%, above the 11.8% expected, but down from the February annual rate of 12.9% and a recent peak of 13.7% in November. The Index did show a 0.9% increase in prices from February to March.

Consumers attitudes towards jobs, the economy and personal finances were more upbeat in the short term based on a recent survey from the Conference Board. The May Consumer Confidence Index rose to 83.0 from the 82.3 recorded in April and just above the 82.7 that was expected. The Index also revealed that the percentage of consumers expecting their incomes to grow over the next six months is the highest since December 2007, 20.2%.

The closely watched S&P 500 closed at a record high of 1,900 on Friday and is now up a whopping 186% from the low of 666 seen on March 9, 2009, at the height of the Great Recession. The Stock markets have been fueled by rising corporate profits, positive economic data, a comeback in housing and last but not least, support from the Federal Reserve through its QE programs. The S&P 500 is an index of 500 stocks and is designed to be a leading indicator of U.S. equities.

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