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Registered Investment Adviser Caleb Lawrence

The major averages opened higher and enter the final hour with decent gains on generally positive news. The crypto currencies fell hard again in early trade with Bitcoin briefly slipping below the $10,000 level before recovering somewhat.

Mortgage activity advanced 4.1% last week as per the Mortgage Bankers Association or MBA. Refis gained 4.4% while purchase apps increased 2.7% a second solid advance for the series. The 30-year contract rate for a jumbo loan jumped to 4.25%, a more than 1-year high.

Industrial Production beat expectations significantly with a .9% gain in December on large jumps in mining and utilities production. Capacity Utilization also surged hitting 77.9%. While this series covers a little less than 20% of the economy the numbers are encouraging just the same.

The National Association of Home Builders Index or NAHB slipped 2 points in January to a still very high 72 on a 4-point drop in traffic, for an otherwise unremarkable report.

Median usual weekly earnings growth fell hard in the 4th quarter of 2017 as the growth rate plunged to just .9%. That said this series shows solid wage growth for 2017 averaging 3.3% which is just about 1% greater than the official Consumer Price Index or inflation over the same period.

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