Mortgage rates improved last week as unrest continued in the Middle East and investors are putting money into a safer place, the US Bond Market.

This Week; oil markets will continue to drive interest rates and the US equity markets. Crude is being driven as you know by civil tensions in an increasing number of countries in the Mideast and in N Africa. While there hasn’t been much new out of the region for the past few days, the fears continue that oil production and distribution will continue. If there is and doubt that oil supplies and oil demand are at critical melting points the recent spike in oil should alleviate and questions.

Date Time (ET) Statistic For Market Expects Prior
02/28/11 08:30:00 AM Personal Income Jan 0.30% 0.40%
02/28/11 08:30:00 AM Personal Spending Jan 0.40% 0.50%
02/28/11 08:30:00 AM PCE Prices – Core Jan 0.10% 0.00%
02/28/11 09:45:00 AM Chicago PMI Feb 67.5 68.8
02/28/11 10:00:00 AM Pending Home Sales Dec -3.20% -3.20%
03/01/11 10:00:00 AM Construction Spending Jan -0.60% -2.50%
03/01/11 10:00:00 AM ISM Index Feb 60.5 60.8
03/01/11 03:00:00 PM Auto Sales Mar NA 3.95M
03/01/11 03:00:00 PM Truck Sales Mar NA 5.64M
03/02/11 08:15:00 AM ADP Employment Change Feb 163K 187K
03/02/11 02:00:00 PM Fed’s Beige Book Mar
03/03/11 08:30:00 AM Initial Claims 02/26/11 400K 391K
03/03/11 08:30:00 AM Continuing Claims 02/19/11 3800K 3790K
03/03/11 08:30:00 AM Productivity-Rev. Q4 2.30% 2.60%
03/03/11 08:30:00 AM Unit Labor Costs – Revised Q4 -0.30% -0.60%
03/03/11 10:00:00 AM ISM Services Feb 59 59.4
03/04/11 08:30:00 AM Nonfarm Payrolls Feb 180K 36K
03/04/11 08:30:00 AM Nofarm Private Payrolls Feb 185K 50K
03/04/11 08:30:00 AM Nonfarm Private Payrolls Feb 193K 50K
03/04/11 08:30:00 AM Unemployment Rate Feb 9.10% 9.00%
03/04/11 08:30:00 AM Hourly Earnings Feb 0.20% 0.40%
03/04/11 10:00:00 AM Factory Orders Jan 2.10% 0.20%


This week the economic calendar has a lot to think about. The US economy has been on a path of recovery with almost every economic data point has been better than estimates. The new and increasingly important question now is, will consumers draw back with the price of energy expected to increase even more. Talk of $4.00 a gallon gasoline is presently dominating investor thinking. $4.00 gas will very likely lower discretionary consumer spending if in fact it occurs. Meanwhile recent economic measurements are being debated on the premise nasty weather in most of the US in Jan and Feb has distorted norms.

This is employment week; on Friday the Feb employment report is expected to have increased to 9.1% frm 9.0% in Feb, non-farm jobs +180K, non-farm private jobs +193K> if we get those numbers and just 0.2% increase in hourly earnings—-and if, there is a relaxation in the oil markets this week interest rates will likely increase. We continue our view that the only reason we have seen the recent decline in interest rates has been due to the civil unrest in the Mideast and N Africa. The week will likely be marked with continued volatility.

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Employment data is released FridayMortgage markets improved last week as Wall Street’s concerns about the Middle East trumped its fears of inflation. Conforming and FHA mortgage rates in Virginia fell to a 3-week low.

Last week marked the second straight week in which mortgage rates fell, a streak that follows four straight weeks of climbing mortgage rates.

It’s been a bout of good fortune for rate shoppers and home buyers.

In addition, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey, the average spread between conforming 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 5-year ARMs has widened further.

The two benchmark products are now separated by 1.15%. It’s the largest interest rate gap in recent history; one that yields a monthly payment difference of $68 per $100,000 borrowed.

This week, it’s unclear in what direction mortgage rates will go.

On one side, there’s ongoing unease related to protests in Libya and its neighbors, and that’s driving safe haven buying. 

“Safe haven buying” describes when investors flee risky situations and put their money in the safest places possible. Mortgage bonds are one such place, so when safe haven buying is in effect, bond demand is high so bond yields (i.e. mortgage rates) fall.

On the other side, inflation is ramping up.

Recent economic data shows that the economy is expanding, and the Federal Reserve is maintaining its accommodative growth policies. Therefore, this week, the key economic event will be Friday’s jobs report. if job creation is high, expect inflation fear to re-ignite, and mortgage rates to rise.

Another risk factor for this week’s rate shoppers is that tensions begin to settle in the Middle East, or that Wall Street gets more comfortable with rising oil prices. If that happens, safe haven buying will subside and mortgage rates will resume rising.

There appears to be more reasons for mortgage rates to rise this week than for them to fall. Plan accordingly.

If you have not locked a mortgage rate yet, this week may represent your last chance to get a low one. Talk to your loan officer and make a plan.

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Consumer Price Index Feb 2009 - Jan 2011Mortgage rates are up 0.875% since mid-November, causing home buyer purchasing power across Henrico to fall more than 10 percent since.

Persistent concerns over inflation are a major reason why and this week’s Consumer Price Index did little to quell fears. CPI rose for the third straight month last month.

Wall Street was not surprised.

As the economy has picked up steam since late-2010, the Federal Reserve has held the Fed Funds Rate near zero percent, and kept its $600 billion bond plan moving forward. The Fed believes this is necessary to support the economy in the near-term. 

Over the long-term, however, Wall Street worries that these programs may cause the economy may expand too far, too fast, and into runaway inflation.

Inflation pressures mortgage rates to rise.

Inflation is an economic concept; defined as when a currency loses its value.  Something that used to cost $1.00 now costs $1.05, for example. It’s not that the goods themselves are more expensive, per se. It’s that the money used to buy the goods is worth less.

Because of inflation, it takes more money to buy the same amount of product.

This is a big deal in the mortgage markets because mortgage rates come from the price of mortgage bonds, and mortgage bonds are denominated, bought, and sold in U.S. dollars. When inflation in present, the dollar loses its value and, therefore, so do mortgage bonds.

When mortgage bonds lose value, mortgage rates go up.

Inflation fears are harming Virginia home buyers. The Cost of Living has reached a record level, surpassing the former peak set in July 2008. Mortgage rates would be rising more right now if not for the Middle East unrest.

So long as inflation concerns persist, mortgage rates should trend higher over the next few quarters. If you’re wondering whether to lock or float your mortgage rate, consider locking today’s sure thing.

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Safe Haven Buying Mortgage markets improved slightly last week, rebounding from the worst 1-week loss in recent history. The gains were geopolitical, however; the result of instability in the Middle East region. Economic data was overlooked as investors made a broad-based flight-to-quality.

For just the second time in 2011, conforming mortgage rates in Richmond fell on a week-to-week basis.

Rates shouldn’t have dropped, though. Here’s just a sampling of last week’s economic data, all of which can be tied to rising mortgage rates:

Furthermore, the just-released January FOMC Minutes showed an improving economic outlook from members of the Federal Reserve.

Therefore, home buyers and rate shoppers might consider last week’s rate drop a gift. Without the growing unrest in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, mortgage rates would have moved considerably higher.

Instead, rates fell in a bout of what’s commonly known as “safe haven” buying.

In safe haven buying, global investors shun risk in favor of safer investments; usually in response to market uncertainty. Terror threats is one such event. Regime overthrow is another. Because the event’s long-term effect on markets is unknown, investors choose to move cash to safer asset classes until the future is more clear.

The extra demand for such assets drives prices up and, in the case of mortgage markets, drives rates down.

Last week, rates fell because safe haven buying was so strong. That may not be the case this week. As events play out across the globe, mortgage rates at home in Virginia will be affected.

There’s a lot of economic data set for release this week, including a large series of housing-related figures. Stronger-than-expected data should cause mortgage rates to rise, safe haven buying notwithstanding.

If you’re still shopping for rates, or looking for a last chance to lock a low rate, now may be your best chance. Talk to your loan officer about a rate-locking strategy early in the week. As the situations abroad become more clear, mortgage rates should start to climb once again.

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Mortgage rates improved last week as the price of mortgaged backed securities rose.  The price of a rate for thirty-year fixed rate mortgages improved by about ½ of a discount point.  However, the long term outlook for mortgage rates continue to be bearish.  The near term outlook has shifted from solid bearish reads to a more neutral pattern. This week both existing and new home sales in Jan are expected to have declined from Dec but whatever slippage we see will likely be seen as weather related distortions.

US financial markets are closed Monday for President’s Day. The week has two housing reports, existing and new home sales, Jan durable goods orders and the weekly jobless claims as the main data points. Treasury will auction $99B of notes; Tuesday $35B of 2 yrs, Wednesday $35B of 5 yrs and Thursday $29B of yr notes totaling $99B the same as the past four months.

Date Time (ET) Statistic For Market Expects Prior
02/22/11 09:00:00 AM Case-Shiller 20-city Index Dec -2.40% -1.59%
02/22/11 10:00:00 AM Consumer Confidence Feb 67 65.6
02/23/11 10:00:00 AM Existing Home Sales Jan 5.23M 5.28M
02/24/11 08:30:00 AM Initial Claims 02/19/11 410K 410K
02/24/11 08:30:00 AM Durable Orders Jan 3.00% -2.30%
02/24/11 10:00:00 AM New Home Sales Jan 310K 329K
02/25/11 08:30:00 AM GDP – Second Estimate Q4 3.30% 3.20%
02/25/11 09:55:00 AM Michigan Sentiment – Final Feb 75.1 75.1


Tuesday morning brings us the first of this week’s data with the release of February’s Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) during late morning trading. This Conference Board index measures consumer confidence in their personal financial situations, giving us a measurement of consumer willingness to spend. If consumers are feeling good about their own financial situations, they are more apt to make large purchases in the near future. Since consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the economy, related data is considered important in terms of gauging economic activity. It is expected to show an increase in confidence from 60.6 in January to 65.0 this month. A lower reading would be considered good news for bonds and mortgage rates.

The National Association of Realtors will post January’s Existing Home Sales report late Wednesday morning. It tracks home re-sales, giving a measurement of housing sector strength. It is expected to show a small decline in sales of existing homes, meaning the housing sector remained fairly flat during the month. Ideally, the bond market would like to see a sizable decline in sales because weak housing is one of the hurdles that the economy must overcome to recover from the recession. The longer it takes for the housing market to recover, the longer it will take the economy to do the same.

Thursday’s first of two releases is January’s Durable Goods Orders data will provide a measurement of manufacturing sector strength by tracking orders at U.S. factories for items expected to last three or more years. A smaller increase than the 3.0% that is expected would be good news for the bond market and mortgage rates. This data is quite volatile from month-to-month, so large swings are fairly normal.

The economy based on recent data continues to improve, all but employment and housing. Inflation concerns are slowly mounting as global inflation ticks higher. The outlook for inflation remains on the minds of investors, who are not likely to sit and wait for confirmation, putting pressure on long term rates. Both the improving economy and inflation concerns however are being overlooked to some extent with increasing violence and protests spreading across the Mideast. After Tunisia and Egypt over through their rulers people in most of the region are taking to the streets. Safety moves into US treasuries are countering inflation worries and strengthening economic data points.

January’s New Home Sales report will be posted late Thursday morning. This is one of the least important reports of the week, and is the sister report to Wednesday’s Existing Home Sales release. They measure housing sector strength and mortgage credit demand, but usually do not have a significant impact on bond trading or mortgage rates unless they show significant surprises. This report is also expected to show a decline in sales.

The first of two revisions to the 4th Quarter GDP reading is scheduled for release Friday morning. Analysts’ forecasts currently call for an annual rate of growth of 3.3%, indicating that the economy was slightly stronger in the last quarter of the year than initially thought. It will be interesting to see where this figure falls and what its impact on the markets will be. Generally speaking, higher levels of activity are bad news for the bond market, while a sizable downward revision would be good news and could lead to improvements in mortgage pricing

The last piece of data scheduled for release this week is the University of Michigan’s revision to their Index of Consumer Sentiment for February. Current forecasts show this index not changing much from its preliminary estimate of 75.1. This index is fairly important because it helps us measure consumer confidence that translates into consumer willingness to spend.

Look for continued volatility in bond prices and mortgage rates this week, especially Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. This would be a very good week to maintain contact with your mortgage professional.

To find out about applying for a mortgage call Paul Cantor (804) 719-1515 or click here.

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Last week rates increased to their highest levels in the last eight months.  The bond market has solidly broken out of its long tight range, meaning higher rates.  Concerns of higher interest rates in Europe, China and the rest of the BRICs as well as improving economic conditions will keep US rates from falling with the most likely path being up for rates.

After last weeks increase in interest rates the market will have supply to contend with. Treasury will conduct its quarterly refunding beginning Tuesday with $32B of 3yr notes, Wednesday $24B of new 10 yr notes and Thursday $16B of new 30 yr bonds. After the 10 yr not increased 29 basis points in yield and the 30 yr bond up 14 basis points the auctions should see good demand. This week doesn’t provide much data, in fact only weekly jobless claims that carry any significance. .

Date Time (ET) Statistic For Market Expects Prior
02/07/11 03:00:00 PM Consumer Credit Dec $2.5B $1.3B
02/09/11 07:00:00 AM MBA Mortgage Purchase Index 02/04/11 NA 11.30%
02/09/11 10:30:00 AM Crude Inventories 02/05/11 NA 2.59M
02/10/11 08:30:00 AM Initial Claims 02/05/11 413K 415K
02/10/11 08:30:00 AM Continuing Claims 01/29/11 3900K 3925K
02/10/11 10:00:00 AM Wholesale Inventories Dec 0.70% -0.20%
02/10/11 02:00:00 PM Treasury Budget Jan -$60.0B -42.6B
02/11/11 08:30:00 AM Trade Balance Dec -$40.7B -$38.3B
02/11/11 09:55:00 AM Mich Sentiment Feb 75.5 74.2


Nothing of major concern Monday and Tuesday, leaving bond trading to be driven by the stock markets If the major stock indexes move higher, we will probably see more funds move away from bonds and into stocks. This would lead to higher mortgage rates as bond prices and yields move in opposite directions. Mortgage rates tend to follow bond yields, so we prefer to see bond prices go up, pushing rates lower.

The two important Treasury auctions come Wednesday and Thursday when 10-year Notes and 30-year Bonds are sold. The 10-year sale is the more important one as it will give us an indication for demand of mortgage-related securities. If the sales are met with a strong demand from investors, we should see the bond market move higher during afternoon trading the days of the auctions. But a lackluster interest from buyers, particularly international investors, would indicate a waning appetite for longer-term U.S. securities and lead to broader bond selling. The selling in bonds would likely result in upward afternoon revisions to mortgage rates.

With little monthly and no quarterly economic reports being posted, Thursday’s weekly release of unemployment figures may end up moving the markets and mortgage rates more than it traditionally does. The Labor Department is expected to announce that 413,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week, falling slightly from the previous week’s total. The higher the number of new claims for benefits, the better the news for the bond market and mortgage rates.

Early Friday morning December’s Goods and Services Trade Balance data will be posted. This report measures the U.S. trade deficit and can affect the value of the U.S. dollar versus other currencies, but it usually does not cause enough movement in bond prices to affect mortgage rates. It is expected to show a $40.7 billion trade deficit.

Despite being a light week in terms of economic releases and relate events, it is still relatively crucial for the mortgage market. We saw the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury Note break above 3.50% and close at 3.65% last week. This should be of concern for mortgage shoppers as the 10-year was trading in a well-defined range until late last week. Since mortgage rates follow yields, we need to see some stabilization very soon or yields (and rates) may be moving higher. I suspect it will be tough to fall below 3.5% unless we get some unexpected major news or a significant stock sell-off. Therefore, please be careful if still floating an interest rate this week as I believe we are set for a noticeable move in the very near future. However, the question is if it will be rates moving higher or lower from current levels

One key thing to keep in mind, US rates remain as low as we have had for generations.

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The US Government reports January Unemployment rate drops to 9%.  (Not that this is a low unemployment rate nor the real unemployment rate subject of another post).  This shows the rate of employment to be higher than what the market had expected of 9.4% to 9.6%. However the number of new jobs created, 36,000, was much lower than anticipated. The severe winter weather may explain this.

A different measure of unemployment, which includes discouraged workers and those forced to work part-time because of the economy, fell to 16.1% in January from 16.7 in December,  its lowest level since April 2009.

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Tensions in Egypt, higher oil prices, higher than expected home sales, and the Fed’s meeting made last week a busy week for financial markets.  Mortgage bond prices rose last week pushing mortgage interest rates lower, mostly due to foreign investment in the US due to the uncertainty in Egypt, several Treasury auctions and most resulted in decent foreign demand. Stock weakness along with weaker than expected GDP figures also led to rate improvements Friday afternoon. Mortgage bonds ended the week positive by about 1/8 to 1/4 of a discount point.

This Week is employment week on Friday, between Monday and Friday however there are a number of key economic reports. The markets start Monday with developments over the weekend in Egypt and the equity markets looking toppy and possibly headed for a long overdue correction. At the end of last week the famous 10 yr treasury note yield fell to 3.31% on Friday and closed at 3.33%, the bottom of its six week trading range (33 market days). A break in stocks and increased fears about the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt should push interest rates lower on safety moves, if however stocks hold and there is no escalation of concerns in the mid-east the 10 yr and mortgages will move back to the top of their ranges on yields

Date Time (ET) Statistic For Market Expects Prior
01/31/11 08:30:00 AM Personal Income Dec 0.50% 0.30%
01/31/11 08:30:00 AM Personal Spending Dec 0.60% 0.40%
01/31/11 08:30:00 AM PCE Prices – Core Dec 0.10% 0.10%
02/01/11 10:00:00 AM Construction Spending Dec -0.50% 0.40%
02/01/11 03:00:00 PM Auto Sales Feb NA 3.90M
02/01/11 03:00:00 PM Truck Sales Feb NA 5.56M
02/02/11 07:00:00 AM MBA Mortgage Purchase Index 01/28/11 NA -12.90%
02/02/11 07:30:00 AM Challenger Job Cuts Jan NA -29.00%
02/02/11 08:15:00 AM ADP Employment Change Jan 150K 297K
02/03/11 08:30:00 AM Productivity-Prelim Q4 2.20% 2.30%
02/03/11 08:30:00 AM Unit Labor Costs Q4 0.00% -0.10%
02/03/11 08:30:00 AM Initial Claims 01/29/11 425K 454K
02/03/11 08:30:00 AM Continuing Claims 01/29/11 3925K 3991K
02/03/11 10:00:00 AM Factory Orders Dec -0.70% 0.70%
02/03/11 10:00:00 AM ISM Services Jan 57 57.1
02/04/11 08:30:00 AM Nonfarm Payrolls Jan 150K 103k
02/04/11 08:30:00 AM Non-farm Private Payrolls Jan 163K 113k
02/04/11 08:30:00 AM Unemployment Rate Jan 9.60% 9.40%
02/04/11 08:30:00 AM Average Workweek Jan 34.3 34.3
02/04/11 08:30:00 AM Hourly Earnings Jan 0.20% 0.10%


Economic data this week has Dec personal income and spending, the ISM manufacturing and service sectors indexes, Jan auto sales, Dec construction spending and the employment report. Early forecasts for all non-farm job growth is for an increase of 150K jobs, private non-farm jobs up 163K and the unemployment rates at 9.6%, up 0.2% from Dec. There are no Treasury auctions this week.

Mortgage interest rates have been very stable now for the past five weeks, not a bad thing as consumers continue to digest the spike up in rates last Nov and early Dec. If the rate markets do improve this week it will present an opportunity to get deals done, unlikely any rate improvements will last long with the economic outlook improving. Lots of talk about inflation, although it hasn’t shown itself yet with rates so low just the thought of it will keep longer term rates for holding these low levels for long.

Tuesday and Friday look to having the highest potential for volatile for mortgage rates. Friday’s Employment report is the most important piece of data, but Tuesday’s ISM Index draws a lot of attention also. We could also see movement in rates tomorrow morning following the activity at the end of last week. If we get weaker than expected results from Tuesday’s ISM report and Friday’s employment data, we should see rates close the week lower than last Friday’s closing levels. If the data shows stronger than expected results, we may see mortgage rates move higher for the week. With some very important data being posted over the next five days, I strongly recommend keeping fairly constant contact with your mortgage professional if still floating an interest rate.


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Mortgage bond prices ended lower meaning higher mortgage rates at the end of last week as compared to the star of the week.   Spain and Portugal had somewhat successful bond auctions, which reversed the flight to quality buying of US debt instruments that helped rates fall.  Lower than expected weekly jobless claims Thursday added to the losses causing rates to spike higher.  Analysts were looking for jobless claims at 425k and the actual release showed claims at 404k.  Leading economic indicators were higher than expected with an increase of 1% compared to the anticipated 0.6% increase.

Date Time (ET) Statistic For Market Expects
01/25/11 09:00:00 AM Case-Shiller 20-city Index Nov -1.50%
01/25/11 10:00:00 AM Consumer Confidence Jan 53.5
01/25/11 10:00:00 AM FHFA Housing Price Index Nov NA
01/26/11 10:00:00 AM New Home Sales Dec 300K
01/26/11 02:15:00 PM FOMC Rate Decision Jan 0.25%
01/27/11 08:30:00 AM Initial Claims 01/22/11 410K
01/27/11 08:30:00 AM Continuing Claims 01/22/11 3835K
01/27/11 08:30:00 AM Durable Orders Dec 1.50%
01/27/11 08:30:00 AM Durable Orders ex Transportation Dec 0.60%
01/27/11 10:00:00 AM Pending Home Sales Nov -0.50%
01/28/11 08:30:00 AM GDP-Adv. Q4 3.70%
01/28/11 08:30:00 AM Chain Deflator-Adv. Q4 1.50%
01/28/11 08:30:00 AM Employment Cost Index Q4 0.40%
01/28/11 09:55:00 AM Michigan Sentiment – Final Jan 73.2


This week is busy in terms of economic data scheduled for release and will likely be an active week for mortgage rates. The number of releases is actually irrelevant due to the importance of the some of the reports. There are seven economic releases scheduled for the week in addition to the first Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting of the year and two potentially influential Treasury auctions. All but one of them are considered to be of moderate or high importance, meaning we should see quite a bit of movement in mortgage rates this week.

Tuesday Morning kicks off this busy week of economic reporting with the release of January’s Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) late Tuesday morning. This report is considered to be of importance to the bond market and may have a significant impact on mortgage rates. Waning confidence in their own financial situations usually means that consumers are less willing to make large purchases in the near future. Since consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy, market participants are very attentive to related data. Analysts are expecting to see an increase from December’s reading, indicating a higher level of consumer confidence. A reading much smaller than the expected 53.5 would be ideal for the bond market and mortgage rates.

10:00 AM Wednesday will be the release of December’s New Home. It is considered to be the sibling release to last week’s Existing Home Sales. Wednesday’s release is forecasted to show an increase in sales of newly constructed homes, but is not important enough to heavily influence mortgage pricing unless it varies greatly from forecasts.

Also Wednesday is this year’s first FOMC meeting results. It will begin Tuesday and adjourn at 2:15 PM ET Wednesday. It is expected to yield no change to short-term interest rates, but as is often the case, traders will be looking for any indication of the Fed’s next move and when they may make it. I believe that there is little chance of indicating a possible rate hike in the near future, but any hints of a change in theories or timetable by the Fed will cause afternoon volatility in the financial and mortgage markets.

Thursday morning brings us the release of December’s Durable Goods Orders. This data helps us measure manufacturing strength by tracking new orders at U.S. factories for products that are expected to last three or more years, also known as big-ticket items. The data often is quite volatile from month to month, but is currently expected to show an increase in orders of approximately 1.5%. A smaller than expected increase would be considered good news for bonds and mortgage rates, but a slight variance likely will have little impact on Thursday’ s mortgage pricing.

Three reports are scheduled for release Friday. The first of them is arguably the single most important reports that we see regularly. The initial reading of the 4th Quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be posted early Friday morning. This data is so important because it is considered to be the best measurement of economic growth. The GDP itself is the total sum of all goods and services produced in the United States. Its’ results usually have a major impact on the financial markets and can cause significant changes in mortgage rates. There are three readings to each quarter’s activity, each released approximately one month apart. The first reading, which usually carries the most significance, is expected to be an increase of 3.8%. A noticeably weaker reading would be great news for the bond market, questioning the pace of the economic recovery. That would likely fuel stock selling and a rally in bonds that would push mor tgage rates lower Friday morning. However, a stronger than expected reading would probably lead to bond selling and higher mortgage rates.

The 4th Quarter Employment Cost Index (ECI) is also scheduled for release early Friday morning. It measures employer costs for employee wages and benefits, giving us an indication of the threat of wage inflation. It usually has more of an effect on the bond market than the stock markets. Current forecasts are showing an increase of 0.4%. A lower than expected reading would be favorable to bonds and mortgage rates, but the GDP reading will be the biggest influence on trading and rates Friday morning.

The last report of the week is the revised reading to the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment. This index is another measurement of consumer confidence, which is thought to indicate consumer willingness to spend. I don’t see this data having much of an impact on the markets or mortgag e rates due to the importance of the GDP and ECI readings.

And if we didn’t have enough to watch already, there are two relatively important Treasury auctions for the markets to digest. The Fed will auction 5-year and 7-year Treasury Notes Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. If they are met with a strong demand from investors, the broader bond market may rally during afternoon hours those days. However, a lackluster interest in the sales could lead to bond selling and higher mortgage rates.

Look for Wednesday or Friday to be the biggest days for mortgage rates. Friday’s GDP is the single most important piece of data this week, but we may see quite a bit of movement in rates Wednesday afternoon. If we see weaker than expected results from the most important reports, mortgage rates should close the week lower than last Friday’s closing levels. If the data shows stronger than expected results, we may see mortgage rates move h igher for the week. This is of course, assuming that the Fed meeting doesn’t reveal any surprises. I strongly recommend that fairly constant contact is maintained with your mortgage professional this week if still floating an interest rate.

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Consider Locking.

Dec 3, 2010

Mortgage rates have steadily risen this week. Reasons for this include the US agreeing to help bail out Europe and consumers suffering from “recession Fatigue”

A change this morning may give home owners and buyers an opportunity to get last weeks rates as payroll data released this morning not a s strong as expected.  Those looking at refinancing in the near future should call their mortgage professional today to discuss locking.

Paul Cantor

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