January 30th, 2009 1:36 PM by Lehel Szucs
Friday's bond market has opened in positive territory following early stock weakness and mixed economic news. The stock markets are showing sizable losses with the Dow down 154 points and the Nasdaq down 20 points. The bond market is currently up 10/32, but we will still see a sizable increase in this morning's mortgage rates due to significant weakness in bonds yesterday afternoon. We will likely see an increase of approximately .500 - .625 of a discount point over yesterday's morning rates.
Today brought us the release of three relevant reports, including the very important preliminary GDP reading that showed a decline of 3.8% during the 4th quarter of last year. This was not as big of a drop as was expected, but was still the largest quarterly decline in 26years. This can be considered bad news for bonds because the drop was not as much as expected, however, it still being the worst quarter since 1982 indicates a weak economy. That generally makes bo nds more attractive to investors and leads to lower mortgage rates. Unfortunately, it was not enough to offset yesterday's losses or the fact that economy activity was actually stronger than expected.
The 4th Quarter Employment Cost Index (ECI) was also posted this morning, but it came in lower than forecasts. The 0.5% increase compared to the 0.7% that was expected, means that employer costs for wages and benefits did not rise as much as thought. That is good news for bonds because it eases concerns of wage inflation.
The third report was the revised reading to the University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment. It showed a reading of 61.2 that was slightly lower than the 61.9 that the preliminary reading showed earlier this month.
Next week is packed with important and relevant economic data for the markets to digest. It begins with December's Personal Income and Outlays data and January's Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing index Monday. The week closes with the almighty Employment report Friday morning and in between are several important releases. Look for more details on next weeks events in Sunday's weekly preview.
If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Lock 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