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News Link • Federal Reserve

Slowing Economy, Plunging Stocks Are Forcing The Fed's Hand

• by John Rubino

The economy hit a rough patch. Auto sales are down and home sales are way down. This morning:

Pending home sales fall, marking the 16th-straight month of annual declines

(MarketWatch) – Pending home sales fell a seasonally adjusted 1.5% in April and were 2% lower than a year ago, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. The consensus Econoday forecast was for a 0.5% increase.

NAR's index, which tracks home-contract signings, has been volatile, but the trend is solidly downward. April marked the 16th-straight month of annual declines.

Contract signings precede closings by about 45-60 days, so the pending home-sales index is a leading indicator for upcoming existing-home sales reports.

Only the Midwest saw an increase in April, with a 1.3% uptick. Pending sales were down 1.8% in the Northeast, 2.5% in the South, and 1.8% in the West.

On Tuesday, the widely-followed Case-Shiller index showed home prices had risen at the slowest pace since mid-2012 in March.

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