January 20th, 2009 10:55 AM by Lehel Szucs
Tuesday's bond market has opened well into negative territory despite early stock losses. The stock markets have also shown a weak opening with the Dow down 130 points and the Nasdaq down 40 points. The bond market is currently down 29/32, which will likely push this morning's mortgage rates higher by approximately .500 of a discount point over Friday's rates. The financial markets were closed yesterday in observance of the Martin Luther King holiday.
Today's weakness in bonds is a result of renewed concern about the supply of government debt that will need to be sold to cover the economic stimulus that President Obama has hinted at. The significant new debt that will be sold makes the current outstanding bonds less attractive to investors, leading to lower bond prices and higher mortgage rates this morning.
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.
Today is Inauguration Day and while I don't believe the ceremony or President Obama's speech will directly affect the markets 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 m orning, 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.
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