May 25th, 2011 8:21 AM by Lehel S.
Rate markets started slightly weaker this morning, the bellwether 10 yr note still unable to crack 3.10% closing yesterday at 3.11% and at 8:45 this morning at 3.13%. Mortgage prices also a little weaker, -4/32 (.12 bp) at 8:45. Asian stock markets were lower on soft earnings, Europe's stock markets trading weaker and US stock indexes looking soft into the 9:30 open. Crude lower to start the day while gold a little higher.
At 8:30 April durable goods orders were a lot weaker than thought; orders expected down 2.0% fell 3.6% after increasing 4.4% in March, the decline in April the biggest since Oct 2010. When transportation orders are excludes durables fell -1.% against estimates of an increase of o.5%; ex defense orders -3.6% (-0.4% expected), the largest decline since Jan 2009. Durables are the most volatile series we deal with each month and subject to big revisions, no initial market reaction to the weaker report, but as the clock ticked the interest rate markets held well; at 9:15 mtg prices +1/32 (.03 bp).
At 9:30 the DJIA opened weaker, down 35, the 10 yr +2/32 at 3.11% and mortgage prices +2/32 (.06 bp).
At 10:00 March FHFA housing price index, a series that doesn't mean a lot in that housing is still dragging the US economy down and there is nothing on the immediate horizon that will change. The index as reported a decline of 0.3% after a decline of 1.5% in Feb.
Early this morning the weekly MBA mortgage applications. Applications increased 1.1% from one week earlier. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 1.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. The Refinance Index increased 0.9% to its highest level since December 10, 2010. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 1.5% from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 0.8% compared with the previous week and was 3.1% higher than the same week one year ago. The four week moving average for the seasonally adjusted Market Index is up 5.2%. The four week moving average is up 1.2% for the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index, while this average is up 7.1% for the Refinance Index. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 66.8% of total applications from 66.7% the previous week. This is the highest refinance share since January 28, 2011. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 5.8% from 6.3% of total applications from the previous week. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 4.69% from 4.60%, with points decreasing to 0.69 from 0.93 (including the origination fee) for 80% loans. The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.78% from 3.75%, with points decreasing to 1.04 from 1.22 (including the origination fee) for 80% loans.
Yesterday's $35B 2 yr note auction met with strong demand; at 1:00 this afternoon the second of the three borrowing auctions. $35B of 5 yr notes will be sold, after the firm demand for the 2 yr expectations are for another good auction today with investors looking for safety as global equity markets and economic outlooks are being lowered. Not much incentive to invest in stock markets now, commodity prices churning after the purge in the past two weeks.
The OECD maintained its forecasts for the world economy to expand 4.2% this year and 4.6% in 2012, and raised them for U.S. growth in 2011 even as it warned of stagflation in some economies. Nice forecast but we are not that optimistic. The OECD warned that the US and Japan have to deal more directly on the respective growing deficits; that of course isn't new news. So far the US has no political appetite to make the serious decisions that are necessary to lower the annual budget deficits; Congress and the Administration have until August 2nd to get an agreement to extend the debt ceiling and come up with a plan that actually cuts spending, likely they won't have anything until August 1st.