Pending home sales declined by 1.5% in April from March while also seeing a drop year-over-year, marking the 16th straight month of annual declines. Pending home sales occur when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing. The only sector across the country that showed gains was the Midwest. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist said, "Though the latest monthly figure shows a mild decline in contract signings, mortgage applications and consumer confidence have been steadily rising. It’s inevitable for sales to turn higher in a few months."
Economic growth remained strong in the first quarter of 2019 though corporate profits edged lower. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose 3.1% in Q1 2019, just below the first read of 3.2%. Within the numbers it showed that consumer spending rose 1.3% while inflation rose at a 1.4% pace year-over-year, well below the Fed's target range of 2%. GDP measures the value of the goods and services produced within the US.
Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits continue to near lows seen in the late 1960s as the labor market continues to strengthen. Weekly Initial Jobless Claims rose by 215,000 in the latest week, up modestly from the prior week. The four-week moving average of claims, which irons out seasonal abnormalities, fell 3,750 to 216,750.