It was another difficult week for prospective home buyers. Existing home sales for April were lighter than expected and down 2.7% from the previous month. The decline to 5.85 million, lower than the expected 6.08 million, makes April the third consecutive month of declines.
Equities rebounded amid a down month with the S&P 500 advancing 1.4% on the week. Higher beta stocks had a better bounce with the Russell 2000 Index up 2.8% and the NASDAQ Composite up 2.1%.
Higher-than-expected inflation was a large market-influencing concern this week. In April, prices increased by 4.2% year-over-year, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The increase is the largest 12-month rise since September 2008 when prices grew by 4.9%.
The S&P 500 was down slightly on the week as sector dispersion was again a major factor. Materials were up more than 4% while both energy and financials gained. The NASDAQ was down 3.3% as technology bellwethers were sold aggressively following good earnings.