Market Conditions

Rate Surge With Rising U.S. Confidence a Positive Sign


Concern that a surge in U.S. bond yields will curb the expansion is overblown, says money manager James Paulsen. When coupled with gains in confidence, higher borrowing costs are a healthy sign for the world’s largest economy.

“Confidence is at the center of everything here,” said Paulsen, the chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management in Minneapolis with $340 billion in assets under management. “If I had to pick one overriding thing, it’s confidence that’s been running through the financial markets and the economy this year.”

Since 1967, stocks have risen at a 12.8 percent annualized rate in months when bond yields and the Conference Board’s consumer confidence measure rise in tandem, according Paulsen’s research. When borrowing costs increase and confidence drops, stocks — a proxy for investors’ views on the direction of the economy and corporate profits — have fallen at a 6.4 […]

Where the Housing Recovery Is Strongest and Weakest


If you own a home in Baltimore, you probably know the housing market is recovering. But how much?
Not so much, actually. Housing has turned up nearly everywhere, with the average home price nationwide up about 12% during the past year. But some markets are going gangbusters while others barely seem to have escaped the gloom.
Baltimore, it turns out, is a housing laggard, according to a new RealtyTrac housing-recovery index that ranks 100 metro areas based on 7 variables including home-price appreciation, the unemployment rate and the decline in foreclosure rates. In Baltimore, prices are up, foreclosures are down and fewer homeowners are underwater on their mortgages, owing more than the home is worth. But the market in Baltimore is still far weaker than in 99 other cities ranked in the index, making it the lowest-ranking metropolis.

That illustrates how a spotty economic recovery is creating […]

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