Despite decline of existing home sales for March, the National Association of Realtors emphasized the advance over March of last year.
The National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales for March declined 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.48 million, despite consensus expectations for a rise in existing home sales to a 4.62 million annualized rate.
From the report:
Total existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, declined 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.48 million in March from an upwardly revised 4.60 million in February, but are 5.2 percent above the 4.26 million-unit pace in March 2011.
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Total housing inventory at the end of March declined 1.3 percent to 2.37 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 6.3-month supply2 at the current sales pace, the same as in February. Listed inventory is 21.8 percent below a year ago and well below the record of 4.04 million in July 2007.
Adding to Thursday’s economic disappointments was the Department of Labor’s weekly report on initial unemployment claims, which exceeded the anticipated number of new claims by 21,000.
From the report:
In the week ending April 14, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 386,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 388,000. The 4-week moving average was 374,750, an increase of 5,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 369,250.
The major ETFs expected to respond to the report on March Existing Home Sales are:
Industrial Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEARCA:XLI) -0.68%
Materials Select Sector SPDR Fund ETF (NYSEARCA:XLB) -0.41%
SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEARCA:DIA) -0.29%
SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA:SPY) -0.30%
SPDR Homebuilders ETF (NYSEARCA:XHB) -0.76%
Bottom line: The report on existing home sales fell short of expectations, indicating that the economic recovery is progressing slower than anticipated. The disappointing increase of initial unemployment claims, which exceeded expectations by 21,000 added support for the contention that the economic recovery has slowed beyond expectations.
Disclaimer: Wall Street Sector Selector trades a wide variety of ETFs and positions can change at any time.