Home prices climbed 20% in February—Faster than expected. In the report’s 20-city index, home prices gained 20.2% year over year, up from a revised 18.9% gain in January and beating consensus estimates that called for a 19% gain. Nationally, home prices rose 19.8% year over year, up from 19.1% the month prior, Case Shiller said in a release. Read more here.
Ford's first all-electric F-150 pickup truck rolls out. The new plug-in truck, called the Lightning, is a battery-powered version of the F-150 pickup, America’s bestselling vehicle for decades. The model represents an effort to secure a lead in the nascent market for electric trucks. Ford plans to use battery cells built at SK’s plant in Georgia and manufacture the truck inside a new factory on Ford’s Rouge complex.
Warner Bros. Discovery posts a 13% revenue jump. It added 2 million Discovery-related streaming subscribers in the quarter for a total of 24 million. That’s consistent with the 2 million added in the fourth quarter. The company reported revenue of $3.16 billion and net income of $456 million. Zaslav plans to combine HBO Max and Discovery+ into a bundled streaming service.
New home sales decrease to 763,000. annual rate in March. This is 8.6 percent below the revised February rate of 835,000 and is 12.6 percent below the March 2021 estimate of 873,000. New home sales are now declining year-over-year since sales soared following the first few months of the pandemic. The months of supply increased in March to 6.4 months from 5.6 months in February.
Multiple offers remain prevalent this spring. Home sellers are still fetching multiple offers on their properties and buyers continue to face competition, even as the housing market has shown some signs of slowing. REALTORS® reported an average of nearly five offers on each home that sold in March. Buyers are paying more than list price, too. 57% percent of buyers offered above the list price, which is up from 48% in February. Read more here.
Bidding wars dip for the first time in 2022 — but competition is still fierce. A new Redfin report revealed that 65% of the offers Redfin agents wrote in March faced competition. That’s up from a year ago when only 62.2% of offers were competitive — meaning the market is still riding high. Significantly, however, the report also found that March’s figure of 65% was down from February when 66.7% of offers faced competition. Read more here.
WHAT TO WATCH
Berkshire shareholders will soon vote on a proposal this weekend to replace Buffett. The National Legal and Policy Center wants to replace Buffett with an independent chairman of the board of directors. Giant pension fund CalPERS supports the proposal. But it seems likely that most shareholders will vote against the proposal. Buffett has a 32% voting interest in Berkshire and has an easier task of convincing shareholders.
EU weighs cap on the price paid for Russian oil. The EU has been divided over whether to ban Russian oil imports. They haven’t done so yet because their economies are so dependent on Russia for energy. But now officials are discussing a ceiling on what they’ll pay for Russian oil. It’s one of several proposals on the table this week when EU ambassadors meet to discuss a sixth package of sanctions against Russia. Source(0:52)
Morgan Stanley thinks the S&P 500 is headed for a bear market. Defensive stocks are the latest big outperformer but now even these stocks have become expensive, making them a less appealing refuge. It also suggests the broad market index will catch up to the average stock and enter a bear market. Large-cap pharma and biotech are two of the few areas investors can turn to for defensive exposure at relatively attractive prices. Read more here.
About 40% of U.S. small businesses plan to raise selling prices by 10% or more. Overall, more than two-thirds of the respondents plan to increase prices in the next three months, according to the NFIB survey, conducted between April 14 and April 17 among 540 business owners. Almost half of the small firms are planning increases of 4% to 9%. Almost nine in 10 said they're already charging more.