E-Sports – the Fortnite (released July 2017) world cup took place last weekend in the sold out Arthur Ashe Stadium (seats 23K+). A 16 year-old beat out 40 million players to win a $3M purse which eclipsed Djokovic & Halep’s purses @ Wimbledon. Viewership peaked at 2.3M viewers which is 2.6X the viewership of Wimbledon championships. Epic Games announced $100M in prize $$ for 2019 and reported $3B in profit during 2018.
Rates – rates improved nicely this week. Most of the public will assume it correlated with the Fed cutting short term rates by 0.25%. On Wednesday when the Fed cut rates my rate-sheet didn’t budge. Yesterday when additional tariffs on Chinese goods were announced, rates on most programs improved by at least 1/8% (ended up locking one loan 3/8% lower for a similar price as originally planned) as stocks sold off.
Jobs – the BLS reported 164,000 job creations in July with negative revisions over the previous two months. Unemployment kept steady at 3.2%. Hourly earnings rose by 0.1% on a year over year basis from the previous month but weekly earnings dropped 0.2% to 2.6% as the number of hours worked decreased. Overall wage growth is moderating and wage pressured inflation remains tame (good for mortgage rates).
Fed – on Wednesday the Fed cut short term rates by 0.25%. As a reminder the Fed does not control mortgage rates but their words and actions can influence them. The Fed Funds Rate regulates the overnight rate banks lend each other money at. This cut improves rates on Home Equity Lines of Credit and credit cards.