January 19th, 2009 9:46 AM by Lehel Szucs
This holiday-shortened week brings us the release of only one monthly economic report for the markets to digest and it is not considered to be of high importance. This will likely leave the stock markets to be a major influence on bond trading and mortgage rates a good part of the week. Whether this is good or bad news for bonds depends if stocks rally or fall. If stocks move higher, bonds will likely suffer, leading to higher mortgage rates. However, if stocks show weakness, funds may shift into bonds, driving mortgage rates lower.
The financial markets are closed tomorrow in observance of the Martin Luther King Holiday. They will reopen Tuesday morning for regular trading hours. I don't believe many mortgage lenders will be open tomorrow, but any that are will likely use Friday's rates or not allow a rate to be locked tomorrow.
Tuesday is Inauguration Day and while I don't believe the ceremony or President Obama's speech will directly affect the m arkets or mortgage rates, it does bring in the new administration, new policies and new theories. Those changes could come into play in the coming weeks and likely influence mortgage rates. Issues such economic stimulus and recovery along with tax and deficit news could create significant volatility in the markets and therefore mortgage pricing.
The week's only relevant monthly economic data is December's Housing Starts report early Thursday morning, but I don't see it causing much movement in mortgage rates. This report gives us an indication of housing sector strength and future mortgage credit demand, but it is not considered to be a heavy influence on bond trading.
Also Thursdays is the Labor Department's weekly update on unemployment filings. They are expected to show that 548,000 new claims were filed last week. A smaller number is considered negative for bonds while a larger than expected rise is positive. But, this data is also not considered t o be of high importance. Since it is one of the only two reports released at all, it may influence trading some but not enough to greatly affect mortgage rates.
Overall, I am expecting a relatively quiet week in the mortgage market. As long as the stock markets remain fairly calm, mortgage rates will probably close the week close to Tuesday's opening levels.
If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Lock if my closing was taking place within 7 days... Lock 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... This is only my opinion of what I would do if I were financing a home. It is only an opinion and cannot be guaranteed to be in the best interest of all/any other borrowers.
©Mortgage Commentary 2009