The US manufacturing sector received some positive news today after several months of negative headlines due in part to the US-China trade issues. The Empire State Manufacturing Index rose 4.0 in October, above the negative 1.0 expected and up from a gain of 2.0 in September. Within the numbers it showed that employment levels and hours worked both increased modestly while the New Orders Index edged higher. Looking ahead, optimism about future conditions improved but remained somewhat subdued.
On the trade front, Bloomberg is reporting that China may be unable to purchase $50 billion worth of agricultural products from the US without removing import tariffs. On Friday, a "phase one" trade deal was announced between the two nations with the signing to come in the near future. Despite what could be perceived as uncertain news regarding China, stocks are higher so far today on solid quarterly earnings.
A recent study by LendingTree shows that mortgage denials are now at the lowest levels since the financial crisis. Mortgage borrowing is on an upswing given the low rate environment and as demand increases, LendingTree conducted the study to see how many borrowers qualify for a loan. Nearly 1 in 10 mortgages were denied during the application process, which on a national level, means that only 9.8% were denied in 2018. LendingTree analyzed more that 10 million mortgage applications for the survey.