October 15th, 2008 2:33 PM by Lehel Szucs
Wednesday's bond market opened well in positive territory but has since given back those gains. The stock markets are showing more losses with the Dow down 328 points and the Nasdaq down 55 points. The bond market is currently nearly unchanged from yesterday's close, but we will still see an increase of approximately .375 of a discount point in this morning's mortgage rates due to significant selling in bonds late yesterday.
September's Retail Sales report was released early this morning. It showed a drop 1.2% drop in sales that was much weaker than expected. Analysts had called for a 0.7% decline, meaning that consumers were spending much less than many had thought. This is good news because consumer spending makes up two thirds of the U.S. economy, which translates into weaker economic activity and lower inflationary pressures. Those two factors make long-term securities such as mortgage related bonds more attractive to investors.
Today's se cond report was September's Producer Price Index (PPI). It gave us mixed results with an over reading of down 0.4% that matched forecasts, but a higher than expected core data reading of 0.4%. This means that prices at the producer level of the economy rose more than was expected if food and energy prices are excluded from the equation. This is bad news for bonds because rising prices means inflation is still a threat to the economy.
Also scheduled for release today is the Fed Beige Book during afternoon trading. This data details economic conditions throughout the U.S. by region. It is relied upon heavily by the Federal Reserve during FOMC meetings when determining monetary policy. If it reveals stronger signs of inflation from the last release, we could see mortgage rates revise higher shortly after its 2:00 PM ET release.
Tomorrow morning also brings us two economic releases. The first is September's Consumer Price Index (CPI) that measures inflat ionary pressures at the consumer level of the economy and is one of the most important reports that the bond market gets each month. Analysts are expecting to see a rise of 0.1% in the overall index and an increase of 0.2% in the core data reading. A larger than expected increase in the core reading could raise inflation concerns in the bond market and push mortgage rates higher tomorrow. However, a smaller than expected reading should ease inflation concerns and could lead to lower mortgage rates.
September's Industrial Production data is the second release of the day and will be released mid-morning. It gives us an indication of manufacturing strength by tracking orders at U.S. factories, mines and utilities. It is expected to show a 0.8% drop in output from August's level, meaning that manufacturing activity fell sharply. A smaller than expected decline or an increase in output would be negative for bonds and mortgage rates while a larger drop should help push mortgage rates lower, assuming that the CPI shows favorable results.
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.
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