Macro Economic Mashup: Mortgage Apps Suck, Housing Starts Double Dipping, PPI Heating Up, and Industrial Production Cooling

Here’s a Cheat Sheet to all the macro economic news releases your MUST KNOW:

Mortgage Applications: Spring Might Suck for Housing Sales

The Mortgage Bankers Association today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, and it’s a bummer if you’re waiting for the housing market unicorn to take us back to Flip That House heaven:

“The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 9.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 7.9 percent compared with the previous week.

The Refinance Index decreased 11.4 percent from the previous week and is the lowest Refinance Index recorded in the survey since the week ending July 3, 2009. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 5.9 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 0.9 percent compared with the previous week and was 18.2 percent lower than the same week one year ago.”

Check Out: Conflict of Visions: Housing Market Reform and Recovery >>

Housing Starts: Double-Dipping

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly announced the following new residential construction statistics for January 2011:

BUILDING PERMITS: Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 562,000. This is 10.4 percent (±1.8%) below the revised December rate of 627,000 and is 10.7 percent (±1.2%) below the January 2010 estimate of 629,000.

Single-family authorizations in January were at a rate of 421,000; this is 4.8 percent (±2.3%) below the revised December figure of 442,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 125,000 in January.

HOUSING STARTS: Privately-owned housing starts in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 596,000. This is 14.6 percent (±15.7%) above the revised December estimate of 520,000, but is 2.6 percent (±9.8%)* below the January 2010 rate of 612,000.

Single-family housing starts in January were at a rate of 413,000; this is 1.0 percent (±8.6%)* below the revised December figure of 417,000. The January rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 171,000.

HOUSING COMPLETIONS: Privately-owned housing completions in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 512,000. This is 9.5 percent (±6.3%) below the revised December estimate of 566,000 and is 22.7 percent (±8.3%) below the January 2010 rate of 662,000.

Single-family housing completions in January were at a rate of 428,000; this is 7.0 percent (±7.0%)* below the revised December rate of 460,000. The January rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 77,000.

Producer Price Index: Input Costs are Rising

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

The Producer Price Index for finished goods rose 0.8 percent in January, seasonally adjusted. This advance followed increases of 0.9 percent in December and 0.7 percent in November and marks the seventh straight rise in finished goods prices. At the earlier stages of processing, prices received by manufacturers of intermediate goods moved up 1.1 percent, and the crude goods index rose 3.3 percent. On an unadjusted basis, prices for finished goods advanced 3.6 percent for the 12 months ended January 2011.

Industrial Production: Cooling

According to the Federal Reserve:

Industrial production decreased 0.1 percent in January 2011 after having risen 1.2 percent in December. In the manufacturing sector, output increased 0.3 percent in January after an upwardly revised gain of 0.9 percent in December. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, factory production rose 0.1 percent in January. The output of utilities fell 1.6 percent in January, as temperatures moved closer to normal after unseasonably cold weather boosted the demand for heating in December; the output of utilities advanced 4.1 percent in that month. In January, the output of mines declined 0.7 percent. At 95.1 percent of its 2007 average, total industrial production in January was 5.2 percent above its level of a year earlier. The capacity utilization rate for total industry edged down to 76.1 percent, a rate 4.4 percentage points below its average from 1972 to 2010.

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