October 30th, 2008 11:21 AM by Lehel Szucs
Thursday's bond market has opened in negative territory following the release of a stronger than expected GDP reading and early stock gains. The Dow has risen 132 points while the Nasdaq has gained 30 points. The bond market is currently down 17/32, which will likely push this morning's mortgage rates higher by approximately .375 of a discount point.
This morning's big news was the preliminary reading of the 3rd Quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The GDP is considered to be the benchmark measurement of economic growth because it is the sum of all goods and services produced in the U.S. It revealed a decline of 0.3%, its worst reading in seven years. It also was only the fifth time in 17 years that the quarterly GDP has fallen. However, analysts were expecting to see a 0.5% decline, therefore, the numbers weren't as bad as expected. Also contributing to this morning's losses was a key inflation reading in the data that showed a larger than expected inc rease. This raised some inflation concerns and contributed to the weak opening in bonds.
The Labor Department posted weekly unemployment figures this morning, saying that 479,000 new claims were filed last week. This was nearly unchanged from the previous week, but was slightly higher than forecasts. However, there is no comparison between the importance of this data and the GDP. With the GDP being considered a very highly important report, the markets ignored the weekly claims figures.
There are three reports scheduled for release tomorrow. The first is the 3rd Quarter Employment Cost Index (ECI), which tracks employer costs for salaries and benefits. Rapidly rising costs raises wage inflation concerns and may hurt bond prices. It is expected to show an increase in costs of 0.7%. A smaller than expected increase would be good news for bonds and mortgage rates.
September's Personal Income and Outlays report will also be posted early tomor row. This data gives us an indication of consumer ability to spend and current spending habits. It is important to the markets because consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy. Rising income generally indicates that consumers have more money to spend, making economic growth more of a possibility. This is bad news for the bond market and mortgage rates because it raises inflation concerns, making long-term securities such as mortgage related bonds less attractive to investors. Analysts are expecting to see an increase of 0.1% in income and decline in outlays of 0.2%.
The week's last report comes at 10:00 AM ET tomorrow when the University of Michigan updates their Index of Consumer Sentiment for this month. Current forecasts show this index remaining nearly unchanged from this month's preliminary reading of 57.5. This index is important because it helps us measure consumer confidence, which is believed to indicate consumers' willingness to spend. Since consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy, any related data is considered to be important.
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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