October 16th, 2008 12:46 PM by Lehel Szucs
Thursday's bond market opened in negative territory but has since rebounded as the markets continue their see-saw activity. The stock markets are posting sizable losses after yesterday's sell-off dropped the Dow 733 points. With the Dow down 190 points this morning, it has given back all of Monday's record gain of 936 points. The Nasdaq is currently down 30 points and is also below its Friday closing level. The bond market is currently up 2/32, but due to a significant rally late yesterday, we should see mortgage rates improve this morning by approximately .500 of a discount point or .125 of a percent in rate.
This morning's economic data added more concern about the status of the economy and the likelihood of a quick recovery. The Labor Department said that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for September went unchanged from August's level and that the core data that excludes more volatile food and energy prices rose only 0.1%. Both of those readings were bel ow forecasts, indicating that inflationary pressures are weaker than thought at the consumer level of the economy. That is good news for the bond market and mortgage rates.
The biggest surprise came from September's Industrial Production data that showed a whopping 2.8% monthly drop in output. This was the biggest monthly decline in 34 years and points towards a quickly slowing manufacturing sector. That is also good news for the bond market and mortgage rates.
The Labor Department said that 461,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week. This was a smaller number than was expected but since the data tracks only a week's worth of claims, it had little impact on trading this morning.
The remaining two reports are both scheduled for release tomorrow morning. September's Housing Starts is the first, but is the week's least important piece of monthly data. It gives us an indication of housing sector strength and mortgage cre dit demand, but usually is not a mover of mortgage rates. It is expected to show a decline in starts of new homes last month. If it varies greatly from forecasts, we could see the bond market have some reaction to the news, but probably not enough to cause much movement in rates.
The last report of the week is October's preliminary reading to the University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment late tomorrow morning. This index measures consumer willingness to spend and usually has a moderate impact on the financial markets. If it shows a sizable decline in consumer confidence, bond prices will probably rise. It is expected to show a reading of 65.0, down from September's final of 70.3.
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.
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