U.S. Economic Indicators

Privately-owned housing starts fell 30.2% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 891,000 (down 29.7% year-over-year). Housing permits fell 20.8% to a 1.07 million annual pace in April (down 19.2% from last year). Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that oil prices are staging a dramatic comeback amid global supply cuts, rising Chinese factory activity, and resurgent auto traffic. While some investors are optimistic that the normalization of crude inventories and consumer activity signal the beginning of a long-term trend, the price of crude still remains well below the breakeven point for most producers. WSJ

According to Bloomberg, the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented support of corporate debt markets has led to a surge in borrowing that may ultimately lead to a new wave of debt defaults and bankruptcies if the economy takes much longer than expected to recover. There are concerns that the Fed’s guarantees are encouraging a misallocation of capital away from high-growth companies towards so-called ‘zombie’ firms. Bloomberg