New homes sales and consumer confidence tumble.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New home sales in May fell more than expected while consumer confidence in June hit a 10-month low amid worries about jobs and the business climate, adding to signs of sluggish economic growth this year.
“These are numbers that are consistent with a slowing down in activity, a moderation on the consumption side,” said Steven Wieting, an economist with Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., in New York.
Sales of new U.S. homes fell 1.6 percent last month to an annual rate of 915,000 from a downwardly revised rate of 930,000 in April, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. Analysts had been looking for May new home sales of 925,000.
[A]dding to the gloomy picture for housing, a measure of existing U.S. single-family home prices showed a decline in April, extending a string of negative annual returns that started in January, according to Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller home prices indexes released on Tuesday.
As woes deepened for the housing sector, the second-largest U.S. home builder, Lennar Corp. , posted a quarterly loss, forecast a loss for the current quarter, and warned the housing market could tumble further.
Consumer confidence in June fell more than expected.
The Conference Board said its index of consumer sentiment fell to 103.9 this month, the weakest since August 2006, from an upwardly revised 108.5 in May. Economists polled by Reuters had been looking for a reading of 105.5.