A half-hour into the trading day, the investment community received another encouraging report on the U.S. housing market
when the National Association of Realtors reported an increase in existing home sales for the month of July. The sales data come on the heels of Tuesday’s positive news on housing starts and building permits.
The housing market, which had hit the proverbial soft spot in the spring, rebounded strongly last month, with housing starts surging to an eight-month high, coming in at an annualized rate of 1,093,000 units. Not only was that 15.7% above the upwardly revised June pace of 945,000 homes, but it was 21.7% higher than the July, 2013 level of 898,000 starts.
showed somewhat more strength during July than had been anticipated earlier. Specifically, that measure of factory output rose by 0.4% last month, twice the gain earlier forecast. Also, the prior month's increase was revised from an earlier 0.2% gain to one twice that large.
In a mildly disappointing report, the Commerce Department issued data showing that retail sales
were unchanged in July
. That compares with an expectation of a 0.2% increase. June's retail report, meantime, noted a gain of 0.2%. That data were not revised from that figure.
After a succession of rather fortuitous business releases over the past fortnight, including upbeat data on manufacturing activity, car sales, and employment growth, the Institute for Supply Management
), an Arizona-based trade group, earlier this morning issued its monthly survey indicating that a nice bounce in the services sector had taken place in July.
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Existing home sales
increased to an annualized rate
of just over five million residences
. That was the first time that sales had topped that plateau since last October.
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The Department of Housing and Urban Development reported data on new residential construction
for the month of June
. At first blush, the data looked disappointing
, as both building permits
and housing starts fell
on a month-to-month basis.