U.S. stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) fluctuated this morning as commodity prices continue to rally and the U.S. dollar flirts with recent lows.
Crude oil sustained its levels trading north of $71/barrel as some used the volatile commodity as protection against a falling dollar. Further supply influences were placed on black gold after OPEC stated that it recommends no production cuts of crude. The United States Oil Fund (NYSE: USO) added 0.5% in early morning trading.
In the real estate arena, mortgage applications surged to their highest level since late May as consumers took advantage of the lowest interest rate in months. The Mortgage Bankers Association said rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage tumbled to a three-month low, sparking a demand in refinancing current loans. In fact, the MBA stated that its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage applications increased by 17% for the week ending Sept. 4, to 648.3, while borrowing costs on a 30-year fixed mortgage averaged 5.02%.
The world’s largest fast-food chain, McDonalds (NYSE: MCD), reported an increase of 2.2% globally at its established stores in the month of August. Additionally, year-to-date sales at restaurants open for at least 13 months rose 4.2%, while total sales fell nearly 1%. This indicates that consumers are still choosing low-cost alternatives to satisfy their needs. The news sent the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (NYSE: XLY) up 0.4% in intraday trading; MCD is 7.6% of its total assets.