January 8th, 2009 10:09 AM by Lehel Szucs
Thursday's bond market has opened in positive territory following early weakness in stocks. The stock markets are showing losses during morning trading again that have helped keep bonds in positive ground. The Dow is currently down 86 points while the Nasdaq has lost 2 points. The bond market is currently up 6/32, which will likely improve this morning's mortgage rates by approximately .125 of a discount point.
Today's only economic news was weekly unemployment claims from the Labor Department. They reported this morning that 467,000 new claims for benefits were filed last week. This was much lower than the 550,000 that was expected and a decline from the previous week's 491,000. Fortunately for the bond market and mortgage pricing, this data is not considered to be of high importance to the markets because it tracks a single week's worth of claims. But, it does create some concern about what tomorrow's monthly report will reveal.
The final re port of the week comes early tomorrow morning when the Labor Department will post December's employment figures. 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. Rising unemployment, a larger than expected drop in new payrolls and a small increase or even a decline in earnings would be good news for the bond market.
Current forecasts call for a 0.3% increase in the unemployment rate, pushing it to 7.0%. Analysts are expecting to see a drop in payrolls in the neighborhood of 500,000 with earnings rising 0.2%. If we see weaker than expected results, mortgage rates should improve tomorrow. However, stronger than expected readings will likely push mortgage rates higher.
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