Wednesday’s Mid-Day Movers: 3 Stories Driving Markets

U.S. equities were a mixed bag on Wednesday afternoon. At 12:30 p.m.:

DJIA: -0.17% to 14,694.30 S&P 500: +0.08% to 1,580.00 NASDAQ: -0.17% to 3,263.62
Gold: +1.02% to $1,423.20 per ounce Oil: +1.90% to $90.87 per barrel U.S. 10-Year: -0.002 points to 1.706%

Here are three stories helping move the markets on Wednesday afternoon:

1) Low Interest Rates Are Still Juicing the Housing Market: The housing recovery is heavily dependent on low interest rates induced by the Federal Reserve, but mortgage applications continue to slowly grind higher.

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According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest report for the week ending April 19, loan application volume edged 0.2 percent higher on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. This comes after a 4.8 percent increase. These figures include both refinancing and home purchase demand, and covers over 75 percent of all domestic retail residential mortgage applications.

The industry group’s Refinance Index increased 0.3 percent from the previous week. The Purchase Index also gained 0.3 percent to reach its highest level since May 2010. On an unadjusted basis, the Purchase Index still increased 1.0 percent, which is 18.0 percent higher than the same week one year ago… (Read more.)

2) This Report Is Bad for U.S. Manufacturing: Ahead of the Commerce Department’s release of its March report on durable goods orders, Rockwell Global Capital’s chief market economist Peter Cardillo noted that data would likely “solidify the weakening economic trend that we have been seeing.” And he was correct. On Wednesday, data showed that orders for U.S. durable goods fell in March by the most in seven months as demand for commercial aircraft slumped and business investment declined.

Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years fell 5.7 percent compared to last month’s 4.3 percent gain. Analysts polled by Bloomberg had expected a much smaller decline, with the median forecast calling for a 3 percent decline. Contributing to the much lower results was an unexpected drop of 1.7 percent in orders excluding transportation equipment… (Read more.)

3) Gasoline Prices Trend Lower Even As Demand Rises: Oil edged up above $90 per barrel on Wednesday morning following the release of the weekly petroleum status report by the Energy Information Administration. The report showed the U.S. crude oil refinery inputs for the week ended April 19 averaged 14.5 million barrels per day (“bpd”), 586,000 bpd below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 83.5 percent of capacity.

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The EIA report this week also showed that gasoline inventories fell 3.9 million barrels, which represents an unexpected increase in demand. Economists were expecting a decline of just 0.6 million barrels. An increase in gasoline demand is usually a positive sign of consumer health… (Read more.)

Don’t Miss: This Report Is Bad for U.S. Manufacturing.