We see new housing data ahead of the bell this morning, with the February read on Housing Starts and Building Permits . Both sides of domestic housing came in weaker than expected: -8.7% on February Housing Starts compared to -1.6% expected. Permits fell 1.6% for the month.
In terms of sheer volume, Housing Starts tallied 1.162 million seasonally adjusted, annualized units, lower than the 1.2 million expected and the downwardly revised 1.27 million in January. For permits, which is a forward indicator of future Starts, 1.296 million in February was lower than the 1.32 million las t report ed.
Single-family home sales fared worse than multi-family homes, falling 10% year over year. Even with mortgage rates coming down, this important aspect of our domestic economy - condo owners buy starter homes, those occupants buy bigger homes, and so on - is flagging. Aside from business for mortgage banks, construction, building supplies and furniture retailers all stand to suffer from a down housing market.
The latest Case-Shiller home price index has also hit the tape this morning, with the lagging-indicator January read coming in-line for the month at 4.3%, representing the smallest gain in four years. This headline was also lower than the 4.6% increase in December.
The 10-City composite reached 3.2% for the month, down 50 basis points from December, while the 20-city was also down half a percentage point month over month to 3.6%. Gains in home prices were only seen in three places: Las Vegas, Phoenix and Seattle. Again, this points to more weakness in the domestic housing market.
Mickie D's (for Digital)
McDonald's MCD is making headlines prior to the market open, as it has decided to invest $300 million in its electronic menu boards, apps and drive-thru displays by purchasing digital services company Dynamic Yield. This is McDonald's biggest acquisition in 20 years. Expect more personalized selection and flexible menu offerings as this technology is implemented into the Mickie D's experience.
Uber Buys Careem for $3.1 Billion
Aheads of its IPO expected later in 2019, Uber has announced the purchase of Middle Eastern ride-share company Careem for $3.1 billion. This acquisition of a regional rival brings Uber a strong presence in places such as North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi spoke of the deal in terms of "two strong brands," as Careem will operate in its locations under its own brand as an Uber subsidiary.
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