The Case-Shiller: Home Prices Edge Closer to 2009 Lows as both the 10 and 20 city indexes fell 1.1% in February. Adjusted for seasonal factors, both the 10-area and 20-area indexes declined 0.2%. Year over year, unadjusted February prices fell 2.6% for the index of 10 metro areas, while the 20-city index declined 3.3%. Prices rose in one of 20 cities, already hard-hit Detroit. “There is very little, if any, good news about housing,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of S&P’s index committee. All of the major areas saw prices decline from a month earlier, with Minneapolis seeing the biggest drop at 3.1%, followed by San Francisco at 2.6%.
Conference Board’s confidence index increased slightly to 65.4 from a revised 63.8 reading in March. “Consumers’ short-term outlook improved slightly, suggesting that the uncertainty expressed last month is easing,” said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board’s consumer research center. “Although confidence remains weak, consumers’ assessment of current conditions gained ground for the seventh straight month, a sign that the economic recovery continues.”
U.S. 10-Year Yields Reach One-Month Low as Central Bank Officials Convene. UST rates are lower as the Fed began it two day FOMC meeting today, with the 10yr UST yield at 3.34%, the lowest level in a month, on speculation the central bank will keep the target rate for overnight lending at a record low and consider steps to stop yields from rising as the June end of the $600 billion “QE2″. The Fed may announce a plan to reinvest the interest and principal payments from its bond holdings in Treasuries in the second half of the year. The U.S. will sell $35 billion of two-year securities today, $35 billion of five-year debt tomorrow and $29 billion of seven-year notes on Thursday. There is still uncertainty in Euro- area as Greece’s budget deficit in 2010 was 10.5% of gross domestic product, significantly higher than forecast by either the Greek government or the European Union authorities.
Fed Searches for Next Step. New Focus on Interest-Rate Plan as Controversial Bond-Buying Strategy Winds Up. There will much focus on how the Fed views the outlook for growth and inflation, which could signal when they will shift to tightening monetary policy. It is widely expected that the central bank will keep the target rate for overnight lending at a record low and consider steps to stop yields from rising as the June end of the $600 billion “QE2″. The Fed may announce a plan to reinvest the interest and principal payments from its bond holdings in Treasuries in the second half of the year.
Fed Sweats Details of News Conference. The Federal Reserve will hold it’s first-ever public news conference Wednesday afternoon following a two-day policy meeting.
Geithner Says U.S. Needs ‘Credible Strategy’ for Deficits in order to be reduce its budget deficits over time, without moving too quickly and choking off economic recovery.