Low home loan rates fueled the surge in mortgage applications in the latest week as the spring buying season nears its end and summer buying begins. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its Market Composite Index, a measure of total loan application volume, increased by 10% in the latest week. The refinance index was up 11%, while the purchase index gained 9%.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Wednesday morning that the economy is gaining traction and should grow stronger the rest of the year as the nation overcomes the effects of the harsh winter weather. However, Mr. Lew said that millions of Americans are still feeling the impact of elevated unemployment and slow economic growth. The Secretary went on to say that government and the private sector should seek out ways to boost the hiring of the long-term unemployed.
U.S. Stock prices are under pressure today after the World Bank cut its global economic forecast, which included reducing estimates for the U.S. and China. The World Bank reported that its forecast calls for global growth of 2.8%, down from the 3.2% projected in January. Growth of less that 3% is considered to be sub-par. Growth in the U.S. is expected at a tepid pace of 2.1%, down from 2.8%. The U.S. economy expanded at an anemic rate of -1% when the latest reading on first quarter 2014 Gross Domestic Product was released in May.