January 8th, 2010 11:28 AM by Lehel S.
Thursday's bond market has opened flat as investors wait for tomorrow's major economic news. The stock markets are not showing much direction either with the Dow up 1 point and the Nasdaq down 8 points. The bond market is currently up 1/32, but we should still see an increase of approximately .250 of a discount point in this morning's mortgage rates due to weakness yesterday.
The Labor Department said this morning that 434,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week. This was a little lower than forecasts, but not enough to affect the markets or mortgage pricing.
Yesterday's FOMC minutes did give us some interesting insight to the Fed's current thought process and concerns. It appears that there is some concern whether more efforts will be need to keep the economy from stalling again. There was particular concern about the housing market and if more action will be needed to keep lending rates low. That could bode well for mor tgage shoppers since the last time the Fed announced they were buying bonds targeted at the housing market, mortgage rates dropped significantly. Another round of buying by the Fed could have similar results. I believe we will hear more about this option in the coming weeks and months.
Tomorrow's only relevant data is the big news of the week. The Labor Department will post December's employment figures early tomorrow morning. The Employment report is considered to be one of the most important monthly releases we see. It gives us the national unemployment rate, the number of jobs added or lost during the month and average hourly earnings, which is a key measure of wage inflation. Its results are expected to heavily influence the markets and mortgage rates.
The latest forecasts are calling for no change in the national unemployment rate, keeping it at 10.0%. Analysts are now expecting to see a decline of 35,000 payrolls from November's level with earn ings rising 0.2%. If we see weaker than expected results, mortgage rates should improve tomorrow morning. However, stronger than expected readings will likely fuel a stock market rally and push mortgage rates higher.
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.