Monday, August 8, 2016 - Article by: Mark Hemingway - Security Financial Services, LLC -
The closely watched S&P 500 Stock Index closed at a record high of 2,182 on Friday. The robust July Jobs Report boosted investor optimism about economic growth here in the U.S. and pushed investors into risky assets, such as Stocks. The strong Jobs Report also spurred on thoughts of higher interest rates by the Federal Reserve Bank of the U.S., but many analysts feel that the central bank will wait for additional incoming economic data before it makes a decision on interest rates.
Late last week the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported that credit availability increased slightly in July. The MBA's Credit Availability Index (MCAI) rose 1% to 165.3 in July. A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while an increase shows credit is loosening. The MBA said, "Overall, credit availability in July was driven by an uptick in programs that allow for refinancing among relatively lower credit score borrowers."
Gas prices at the pumps continued to edge lower over the weekend as a glut of oil supply runs through global pipelines. The national average price for a regular gallon of gasoline fell to $2.12 on Monday, down from $2.25 a month ago. As of August 1, gas prices had fallen 50 of the past 51 days for a total of 25 cents per gallon. With gasoline supplies high and oil prices low, pump prices are likely to remain relatively cheap through the remainder of the summer and into the fall.
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