Is This Market Strength Real?
The European Union is committed to the regional and economic integration of 27 member states, with sixteen countries sharing a common currency. That was a fine idea when it was first founded but the economic fallout of the financial crisis will put loyalties to the test. "Look for the Union to adopt more stringent guidelines in the coming year, including but not limited to distancing itself from the weaker links such as Greece and Ireland. Sovereign defaults, as a whole, should jockey for mind-share. [Read the full article]
Long-term mortgage rates remain around 5 percent, with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rising just a fraction this week. According to Freddie Mac, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.01 percent in the week ending Feb. 4, up from 4.98 percent last week. “Mortgage rates remained relatively stable for a second week amid news of a strengthening housing market,” says Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE). “Residential fixed investment rose for two consecutive quarters over the last half of 2009 following a steady quarterly decline since the beginning of 2006.” Sales of new and existing homes in the Triad rose 15.5 percent in fourth quarter 2009, the first year-over-year increase in three years. Alamance, Guilford and Forsyth counties had 2,248 sales of new and existing homes in the fourth quarter, up from 1,946 a year earlier. [Read the full article]