TUESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE:

Posted: August 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

 
 

 
 

 
 

TUESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE:

Today’s FOMC meeting has adjourned with no change to key short-term interest rates. However, the post-meeting statement did give us a bit of a surprise that was quite favorable to the bond market and mortgage rates. In the statement the Fed indicated that they expect the economy to grow at a slower pace than estimated at the last FOMC meeting in late June. They renewed their “subdued” outlook for inflation, which is the key point for the bond market and the indication that they expect to keep key interest rates at their current level for an “extended period.” That leads market participants to believe that the Fed is still concerned about the economy’s ability to expand and maintain momentum.

 
 

The surprise came from an announcement that the Fed will use funds from its holdings in mortgage bonds to buy more government debt. What this means is that the Fed is taking its interest payments and reinvesting them into the economic recovery. This will be a much smaller campaign than we saw from them last year and early this year, but it is still considered good news. The goal is to help keep long-term interest rates low, such as home mortgage rates and corporate bond rates, in an effort to spur more spending and economic activity. The general consensus is that the impact this will have on the economy is minimal, but it does show that the Fed is attentive to current conditions and is ready to take more measures if needed.

 
 

The financial markets have rallied after the announcement was made, particularly bonds. The stock markets erased a good part of their earlier losses, while the bond market extended its morning gains. The Dow is currently down 38 points and the Nasdaq is down 22 points. The bond market is currently up 20/32, which should improve mortgage rates by approximately .125 – .250 of a discount point from this morning’s rates.

 
 

Second quarter Employee Productivity and Costs data was released early this morning. It revealed a surprising 0.9% decline in worker productivity. This means that employees were less productive during the quarter than many had thought. That can be considered bad news for bonds, but offsetting that surprise was a much smaller than expected increase in labor costs. They rose 0.2% compared to the 1.4% rise that was forecasted, which means that employer costs for wages rose at a slower pace than expected. That can be considered good news for the bond market and mortgage rates because rising costs translates into higher prices for products at the consumer level and gives workers more money to spend, fueling economic activity.

 
 

Tomorrow’s only data will be June’s Trade Balance report at 8:30 AM ET. It gives us the size of the U.S. trade deficit but is the week’s least important report and likely will have little impact on the bond market and mortgage rates. Analysts are expecting to see a $42.5 billion deficit, but it will take a wide variance to directly influence mortgage pricing.

 
 

If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would…. Float if my closing was taking place within 7 days… Float if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days… Float if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days… Float if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now…

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Posted: August 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

 
 

 
 

Tuesday’s bond market has opened up slightly after this morning’s economic news gave us mixed results. The stock markets are showing losses with the Dow down 84 points and the Nasdaq down 21 points. The bond market is currently up 2/32, which may improve this morning’s mortgage rates by approximately .125 of a discount point.

 
 

Second quarter Employee Productivity and Costs data was released early this morning. It revealed a surprising 0.9% decline in worker productivity. This means that employees were less productive during the quarter than many had thought. That can be considered bad news for bonds, but offsetting that surprise was a much smaller than expected increase in labor costs. They rose 0.2% compared to the 1.4% rise that was forecasted, which means that employer costs for wages rose at a slower pace than expected. That can be considered good news for the bond market and mortgage rates because rising costs translates into higher prices for products at the consumer level and gives workers more money to spend, fueling economic activity.

 
 

Today also brings us another FOMC meeting. It is a single day meeting that will adjourn at 2:15 PM ET. There is practically no possibility of the Fed changing key short-term interest rates, but the markets will be watching the post-meeting statement very closely. Mr. Bernanke and some of his colleagues have indicated recently that the economy is not growing as quickly as previously thought and have renewed concerns about certain hurdles such as housing and unemployment. So, it would not be a surprise to see some minor adjustment to the statement that would hint a more cautious tone than previous statements. If this is the case, we may see bond prices rise and mortgage rates move lower during afternoon trading today.

 
 

Tomorrow’s only data will be June’s Trade Balance report at 8:30 AM ET. It gives us the size of the U.S. trade deficit but is the week’s least important report and likely will have little impact on the bond market and mortgage rates. Analysts are expecting to see a $42.5 billion deficit, but it will take a wide variance to directly influence mortgage pricing.

 
 

Look for an update to this report shortly after the markets have an opportunity to react to this afternoon’s event.

 
 

If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would…. Float if my closing was taking place within 7 days… Float if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days… Float if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days… Float if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now…

Monday, August 09, 2010

Posted: August 9, 2010 in Uncategorized

Monday’s bond market has opened flat despite modest stock gains. The stock markets are starting the week in positive territory with the Dow up 25 points and the Nasdaq up 8 points. The bond market is nearly unchanged from Friday’s close, which should keep this morning’s mortgage rates close to Friday’s levels.

There is no relevant economic data scheduled for release today, so look for the stock markets to be the cause of any afternoon revision to mortgage rates. If the major stock indexes move upward from current levels, we could see bonds weaken and mortgage rates increase later today. But if stocks move lower by a good margin, we should see mortgage pricing improve this afternoon.

The rest of the week brings us the release of five economic reports for the bond market to digest in addition to another FOMC meeting and two relevant Treasury auctions. It starts tomorrow morning when Employee Productivity and Costs data for the second quarter will be posted. It will give us an indication of employee output. High levels of productivity are believed to allow the economy to grow without fears of inflation. I don’t see this being a big mover of mortgage pricing, but since it is the only data of the day it may influence rates slightly during morning trading. Analysts are currently expecting to see an increase in productivity of only 0.1%. A higher than expected reading could help improve bonds, leading to lower mortgage rates tomorrow.

The next FOMC meeting, which is a single day meeting, is tomorrow and will adjourn at 2:15 PM ET. It is expected to yield no change to key interest rates. Usually, the post-meeting comments seem to have more of an influence on the markets than the rate adjustments themselves, or a lack of one in many cases. Look for the statement to lead to volatility during afternoon trading if it hints at what the Fed’s next move may be and when it will come. If the statement does not give us new information, mortgage rates will probably move little after its release.

The most important data of the week comes Friday when we will get three reports, two of which are highly important to the markets and mortgage rates. Those two reports, July’s Retail Sales and Consumer Price Index, can lead to sizable movement in the markets and mortgage pricing.

Overall, look for the most movement in bond prices and mortgage rates late in the week. Friday will likely turn out to be the most important day with two of the week’s most important releases and three reports scheduled altogether. If we get stronger than expected results in the Retail Sales and CPI releases, we may see mortgage rates spike higher fairly quickly. I suspect the FOMC meeting will not have as much of an influence on mortgage rates as recent meetings have, but the markets can react wildly to a single word or omission of a word in the statement, so we need to be cautious. This is certainly another week that continuous contact with your mortgage professional is highly recommended if you are still floating an interest rate.

If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would…. Float if my closing was taking place within 7 days… Float if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days… Float if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days… Float if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now…

Market Commentary for August 05, 2010

Posted: August 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

Thursday’s bond market has opened in positive territory following early stock losses and unemployment news that was favorable for bonds. The stock markets are showing losses with the Dow down 36 points and the Nasdaq down 14 points. The bond market is currently up 12/32, which should improve this morning’s mortgage rates by approximately .250 of a discount point.

The Labor Department gave us last week’s unemployment figures early this morning. They announced that 479,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week. This was much higher than the 455,000 that analysts had expected, making this data good news to the bond market and mortgage rates. This data tracks only a single week’s worth of claims, so it usually has little impact on mortgage pricing. However, today’s improvement in rates can partially be attributed to the surprise jump in claims.

The most important piece of data this week and arguably each month comes tomorrow morning. The Labor Department will post July’s Employment report early tomorrow morning. It gives us the U.S. unemployment rate, number of jobs added or lost during the month and the average hourly earnings reading. The ideal situation for the bond market is rising unemployment, a sizable loss of jobs and little change in earnings.

While the GDP is arguably the single most important report in general, it is posted quarterly rather than monthly like the Employment report. Tomorrow’s report is expected to show that the unemployment rate rose to 9.6% last month while approximately 85,000 jobs were lost. The unemployment rate probably will not be much of a factor unless it moved more than the 0.1% that is expected. However, due to the importance of these readings, we will most likely see quite a bit of volatility in the markets and mortgage pricing tomorrow if they vary from forecasts.

If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would…. Lock if my closing was taking place within 7 days… Float if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days… Float if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days… Float if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now…

Market Commentary for Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Posted: August 4, 2010 in Uncategorized

Wednesday’s bond market has opened in negative territory following modest stock gains. The Dow is currently up 32 points while the Nasdaq has gained 12 points. The bond market is currently down 6/32, which should push this morning’s mortgage rates higher by approximately .125 of a discount point.

There is no relevant economic data scheduled for release today. This leaves the stock markets to influence bond trading and mortgage rates. If the stock markets move higher from current levels, we should see bond prices fall and mortgage rates rise if the move is sizable. However, if the major stock indexes fall from where they are now, the bond market would likely improve, leading to slightly lower mortgage rates this afternoon.

The only relevant data scheduled for release tomorrow are weekly unemployment figures from the Labor Department. They will post the number of new claims for unemployment benefits filed last week, giving us a small measurement of employment sector growth. This data usually does not lead to noticeable changes in mortgage rates because the data tracks only a single week’s worth of new claims. Analysts are expecting 455,000 new claims, but it will likely take a fairly large variance for the markets to have much of a reaction to this data. This week’s release may carry a little more significance than usual because there is no other data scheduled for release that day.

Friday brings us the release of July’s Employment report that compiles several key employment readings and is based on an entire month’s worth of data. This is a very important report for the financial and mortgage markets and could lead to sizable changes to mortgage rates. I would not be surprised to see the traders prepare for the report by adjusting portfolios late tomorrow and Thursday. This could lead to some pressure in bonds or possibly improvements if market participants are betting on bad economic news coming. The results on mortgage rates should be fairly minimal and could easily be erased after the report is released Friday morning, but it is worth mentioning.

If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would…. Lock if my closing was taking place within 7 days… Float if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days… Float if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days… Float if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now…

Market Commentary For August 3, 2010

Posted: August 3, 2010 in Uncategorized

Tuesday’s bond market has opened in positive territory after this morning’s economic data showed weaker than expected results. The stock markets are helping to boost bonds with a negative opening that is giving back some of yesterday’s strong gains. The Dow is currently down 55 points while the Nasdaq has fallen 11 points. The bond market is currently up 16/32, which will likely improve this morning’s mortgage rates by approximately .250 of a discount point.

 
 

There were two relevant economic reports posted this morning. The first was June’s Personal Income and Outlays data that revealed no change in both the income and spending readings. Analysts were expecting to see the flat reading in spending, but were calling for a slight increase in spending. This data indicates that consumers had no more income to spend, nor did they spend more than they did in May. These can be considered favorable results for the bond market and mortgage rates because they show weaker than expected economic activity that make long-term securities, such as mortgage-related bonds, more attractive to investors.

 
 

June’s Factory Orders data was also posted this morning. It showed that new orders for both durable and non-durable goods fell 1.2% in June. That was more than twice the decline that was expected, indicating a weaker manufacturing sector than many had thought. This is also good news for bond and mortgage rates. However, this particular report is not one of the more important ones we see each month, so its impact on this morning’s rates has been minimal.

 
 

There is no relevant economic data scheduled for release tomorrow. This will allow the stock markets to take center stage as the diving force for the bond market, at least until we get to Friday’s key data. If the major stock indexes show sizable losses tomorrow, expect to see bonds rise and mortgage rates to fall slightly. But if this morning’s losses are reversed, we could see upward changes to mortgage rates in the morning.

 
 

If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would…. Lock if my closing was taking place within 7 days… Float if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days… Float if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days… Float if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now…

Market Commentary for July 29th 2010

Posted: July 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

Thursday’s bond market has opened in negative territory with no important economic being released this morning. The stock markets are showing gains with the Dow up 40 points and the Nasdaq up 2 points. The bond market is currently down 5/32, but we will likely see little change in this morning’s mortgage rates due to strength in bonds late yesterday.

Today’s only relevant data came from the Labor Department, who announced that 457,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week. This was below forecasts of 464,000, meaning this can be considered negative for bonds. However, this data is not considered to be important to mortgage rates and has had little influence on this morning’s trading.

Both of yesterday’s afternoon events were favorable for bonds and mortgage pricing. The 5-year Treasury Note auction went very well, indicating that investor demand for U.S. securities remains strong. That is good news for mortgage rates because that interest should carryover to mortgage-related securities also. The second of the two relevant sales is taking place today with 7-year Notes being sold. These are a little longer term than yesterday’s securities, which is closer to mortgage bond terms, so another strong sale should lead to improved mortgage rates this afternoon.

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report was released yesterday afternoon. It did not give us any negative surprises about economic growth. Most regions had reported modest growth with a couple showing negative activity. The concerns about the economy, such as unemployment and housing, remained considerable in many of the regions. This was all good news for bonds because this information will be relied on heavily when the Fed meets August 10th for their next FOMC meeting.

There are three releases scheduled for release tomorrow morning, including one of the most important reports we regularly see. That one is the preliminary reading of the 2nd Quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is considered to be the best indicator of economic activity. It is the sum of all goods and services produced in the U.S. and usually has a great deal of influence on the financial markets. There are two revisions approximately one month apart, but the preliminary posting carries the most importance. Current forecasts are estimating that the economy grew at a 2.5% annual rate during the second quarter. A faster pace will probably hurt bond prices, leading to higher mortgage rates tomorrow. But a smaller than expected reading would likely fuel a bond market rally and lead to lower mortgage pricing.

The second report of the day is the 2nd Quarter Employment Cost Index (ECI) that measures employers’ costs for wages and benefits. It is considered to be an important measurement of wage inflation and can impact the bond market and mortgage rates if it varies much from forecasts. If it shows a rapid increase, raising inflation concerns, the bond market may drop and mortgage rates rise. It is expected to reveal an increase of 0.5%, but the GDP reading likely will have more of an influence on the markets and mortgage rates.

Tomorrow’s third piece of data is the revision to July’s University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment that will help us measure consumer optimism about their own financial situations. As with Tuesday’s CCI release, this data is considered important because rising consumer confidence usually translates into higher levels of spending. This adds fuel to the economic recovery and is looked at as bad news for bonds. Tomorrow’s release is an update to the preliminary reading we saw two weeks ago, so unless we see a drastic revision to the preliminary estimate, I think the markets will probably shrug this news off. It is expected to be revised to 67.5.

If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would…. Lock if my closing was taking place within 7 days… Float if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days… Float if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days… Float if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now…