January 26th, 2009 12:00 PM by Lehel Szucs
bond market has opened in negative territory following stronger than expected economic news and early stock gains. The Dow and Nasdaq are kicking the week off in positive ground with the Dow up 65 points and the Nasdaq up 18 points. The bond market is currently down 9/32, but we will likely see an improvement in this morning's rates of approximately .125 - .250 of a discount point due to strength late Friday.
There were two reports posted this morning that are somewhat relevant to mortgage pricing. The first was December's Existing Home Sales from the National Association of Realtors. It showed an unexpected increase of 6.5% in the number of home resales last month, but it also indicated that home prices continue to fall. These are mixed results for the bond market, but since the data is not considered to be of high importance, its impact on this morning's mortgage rates has been minimal.
December's Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) was also posted this morning, revealing an increase of 0.3% in the index. This means that the indicators are pointing towards an increase in economic activity over the next three to six months. This is considered bad news for bonds because it was expected to show that economic activity would continue to fall.
Tomorrow morning brings us the release of January's Consumer Confidence Index (CCI). It is considered to be of high-importance to the bond market and therefore can move mortgage rates. It is an indicator of consumer sentiment, which is important because a decline would be construed as a sign that consumers may be 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. A reading smaller than the expected 39.0 would be ideal for the bond market and mortgage rates.
There is no factual economic data scheduled for release Wednesday, bu t we will get the results of this year's first FOMC meeting. It will begin tomorrow and adjourn at 2:15 PM ET Wednesday. It is expected to yield no change to short-term interest rate, but as is often the case, traders will be looking for any indication of the Fed's next move. However, I am not expecting this meeting to have a major impact on the markets or mortgage rates because the Fed can't lower key rates much more. There is little chance of indicating a possible rate hike in the near future, so I don't believe that this meeting will have the influence they usually do.
Overall, look for tomorrow 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 tomorrow also. If we see weaker than expected results from the most important reports, we should see rates close the week much lower than last Friday's closing levels. If the data shows stronger than ex pected results, we may see mortgage rates move higher again this 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.
If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Float if my closing was taking place within 7 days... Float 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