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Home | Author Archives: Tory Barringer

Author Archives: Tory Barringer

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Fed: Economic Activity Increases Due to Better Weather

Fed: Economic Activity Increases Due to Better Weather

Reports from the Federal Reserve’s 12 districts indicate economic activity has increased in most regions across the country since the end of February as the unusually harsh winter came to an end. As in the last Beige Book report, the word "weather" appeared more than 100 times in the Fed's latest release, though the theme this time was generally one of improvement rather than sluggishness.

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Freddie Mac: Mortgage Rates Fall to 4.27 Percent

Freddie Mac: Mortgage Rates Fall to 4.27 Percent

Per Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage (FRM) this week averaged a rate of 4.27 percent (0.7 point), down from 4.34 percent last week. A year ago, the 30-year FRM sat at 3.41 percent. At the same time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.33 percent (0.6 point), down from an average 3.38 percent.

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Bank of America Legal Expenses Hurt Q1 Earnings

Bank of America Legal Expenses Hurt Q1 Earnings

Bank of America’s first-quarter earnings were hit hard by legal expenses, resulting in a net loss of $276 million to start the year. The loss follows a profitable fourth quarter of 2013, which saw the bank taking in $3.4 billion. For the first quarter of 2013, BofA reported net income of $1.5 billion. The results for the first quarter include $6 billion in litigation expenses related to a major settlement the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) over legacy securities claims.

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Builders Remain in a Holding Pattern, Expect Improvement

Builders Remain in a Holding Pattern, Expect Improvement

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported a one-point increase in its monthly Housing Market Index (HMI), a measure of builders’ confidence in the market for newly constructed single-family homes. Registering 47 as of the latest release, the index has now spent three straight months below 50, the threshold between a market viewed largely as “good” and one viewed as “bad.”

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Citigroup Reports $3.9B in Quarterly Profits

Citigroup Reports $3.9B in Quarterly Profits

Citigroup reported Monday profits of $3.9 billion in Q1, just barely edging out last year’s income of $3.8 billion. Gains were more impressive when put next to Q4’s earnings, which disappointed at $2.5 billion. The gain came despite a year-over-year drop in total revenues, which were down 1 percent to $20.1 billion as a result of declines in fixed income markets revenues and lower refinancing activity.

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Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Report Shrinking Mortgage Activity

Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Report Shrinking Mortgage Activity

Two quarterly earnings reports revealed very different results for two major players in the mortgage industry. Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase both felt the sting of a shrinking mortgage market, but one bank revealed substantial growth. Wells Fargo reported a record net income of $5.9 billion for the first quarter, an increase of 14 percent from the year-ago quarter and 5 percent from Q4 2013.

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Decline in Mortgage Rates Helps Spring Buying Season

Decline in Mortgage Rates Helps Spring Buying Season

Good news for homebuyers—Freddie Mac reported the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaging a rate of 4.34 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending April 10, a decline from 4.41 percent last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed was down nearly a full percentage point: 3.43 percent.

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$1.6 Billion in Grants Renewed for Homeless Support Programs

$1.6 Billion in Grants Renewed for Homeless Support Programs

Support for HUD’S Continuum of Care Program has been extended, with the government awarding $1.6 billion in grants. The funding will support operations for nearly 7,100 homeless housing programs in every state, as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additional grant funding will go to hundreds of other local programs in the coming weeks.

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Fitch: Housing Recovery Will Reflect Economic Performance

Fitch: Housing Recovery Will Reflect Economic Performance

Fitch Ratings is the latest market commentator to blame the housing sector’s recent slowness on weather challenges. In an analysis gauging the recovery’s progress, the ratings agency listed harsh winter weather across the country as one of the biggest factors moderating the housing recovery, though higher interest rates and home prices have also provided some drag.

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