Mortgage Rates This Week.

Apr 17, 2017

The stock market closed moderately lower in an Easter Holiday-shortened the week characterized by lower than usual trading volumes.  In fact, Monday’s trading saw fewer shares changing hands than on any day so far this year.  Economic news seemed to take a back seat to geopolitical events during the week, events that weighed on equity investor sentiment while producing a boost for bond prices and lowing yields and interest rates.

 

Stocks were pressured lower on Monday following unconfirmed reports China was positioning troops along its border with North Korea.  Although this troop movement may have been an outcome from President Trump’s recent meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to put pressure on North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons testing, concerns over intensifying tensions in the Korean peninsula continued to be negative for investor sentiment throughout the week.

 

Furthermore, the ongoing civil war in Syria and how it is impacting relations between the U.S. and Russia also kept investors on edge.  Thursday, news that the U.S. had dropped the “Mother of All Bombs,” otherwise known as the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Burst bomb – the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the US arsenal, on an ISIS target in Afghanistan also appeared to ignite a sharp decline in stocks prices to end the week.  This first-ever use of the 21,000 lb. GBU-43/B bomb was also meant to send a clear signal to North Korea to cease its nuclear missile testing.

 

Wednesday afternoon, stocks moved lower and bond prices higher in response to President Trump’s remarks to an interviewer with The Wall Street Journal when he stated the U.S. dollar is “getting too strong” and he hoped the Federal Reserve would keep interest rates low.  Trump “talking down the dollar” helped push the yield on the 10-year Treasury note to new five-month lows the following Thursday morning.

 

In housing, Mortgage application volume increased slightly during the week ending April 7.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported their overall seasonally adjusted Market Composite Index (application volume) rose 1.5%.  The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 3.0% from the prior week, while the Refinance Index remained unchanged at 4.0%.  Overall, the refinance portion of mortgage activity decreased to 41.6% of total applications from 42.6% from the prior week, falling to its lowest level since September 2008.  The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity remained unchanged at 8.5% of total applications.  According to the MBA, the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with a conforming loan balance decreased to 4.28% from 4.34% with points increasing to 0.38 from 0.31.

 

For the week, the FNMA 3.5% coupon bond gained 56.2 basis points to close at $103.00 while the 10-year Treasury yield decreased 15.02 basis points to end at 2.232%.  Stocks ended the week lower.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 202.85 points to end at 20,453.25.  The NASDAQ Composite Index dropped 72.66 points to close at 5,805.15 and the S&P 500 Index lost 26.59 points to close at 2,328.95.  Year to date, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 3.49%, the NASDAQ Composite Index has advanced 7.84%, and the S&P 500 Index has risen 4.03%.

 

This past week, the national average 30-year mortgage rate fell to 4.04% from 4.17%; the 15-year mortgage rate decreased to 3.27% from 3.38%; the 5/1 ARM mortgage rate decreased to 3.07% from 3.13%; and the FHA 30-year rate was unchanged at 3.75%.  Jumbo 30-year rates fell from 4.39% to 4.31%.

 

Economic Calendar – for the Week of April 17, 2017

 

Economic reports having the greatest potential impact on the financial markets are highlighted in bold.

 

Date Time

ET

Event /Report /Statistic For Market Expects Prior
Apr 17 08:30 New York Empire State Manufacturing Index Apr 13.0 16.4
Apr 17 10:00 NAHB Housing Market Index Apr 70 71
Apr 17 16:00 Net Long-Term TIC Flows Apr NA $6.3B
Apr 18 08:30 Housing Starts Mar 1260K 1288K
Apr 18 08:30 Building Permits Mar 1240K 1213K
Apr 18 09:15 Industrial Production Mar 0.4% 0.0%
Apr 18 09:15 Capacity Utilization Mar 76.2% 75.4%
Apr 19 07:00 MBA Mortgage Applications Index 04/15 NA +1.5%
Apr 19 10:30 Crude Oil Inventories 04/15 NA -2.17M
Apr 19 14:00 Fed’s Beige Book Apr NA NA
Apr 20 08:30 Initial Jobless Claims 04/15 241K 234K
Apr 20 08:30 Continuing Jobless Claims 04/8 NA 2028K
Apr 20 08:30 Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index Apr 21.8 32.8
Apr 20 10:00 Index of Leading Economic Indicators Mar 0.3% 0.6%
Apr 21 10:00 Existing Home Sales Mar 5.55M 5.48M

 

Mortgage Rate Forecast with Chart – FNMA 30-Year 3.5% Coupon Bond

 

The FNMA 30-year 3.5% coupon bond ($103.00, +56.2 bp) traded within a 73 basis point range between a weekly intraday low of $102.297 on Monday and a weekly intraday high of $103.031 on Friday before closing the week at $103.00.  Geopolitical events during the week “trumped” technical signals and economic news (no pun intended) to send stocks lower while triggering a “flight to safety” for investors into bonds.  Mortgage bonds broke above resistance at the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement level ($102.806) and this level now becomes nearest support.  Although substantially “overbought,” the bond will set its sights on the next resistance level at $103.13.  If stocks continue to slide lower this coming week, we could see bond prices improve with mortgage rates slipping slightly lower.

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