October 9th, 2008 8:08 AM by Lehel Szucs
Wednesday's bond market has opened in negative territory again, following the path of stocks and other markets despite the Fed rate cut news. The stock markets are showing another round of volatility this morning with the Dow down 60 points and the Nasdaq up 10 points but both well off earlier highs. The bond market is currently down 18/32, which will likely push this morning's mortgage rates higher by approximately .250 of a discount point.
In a surprise move, the Fed announced an emergency rate cut of a half point to the benchmark Fed Funds rate. This was coordinated with several other international central banks in an effort to spur global economic activity. The markets initially took this as very good news, hence the strong opening in stocks. However, it was short-lived as skepticism about it being enough to fix the crisis rose. The bond market is suffering today, but as previously mentioned, I believe there is still more room for stocks to fall befo re bottoming out. This could mean bonds become the preferred investment and lead to lower mortgage rates in the immediate future.
Yesterday's release of the FOMC minutes and words by Fed Chairman Bernanke actually helped fuel the theory that the Fed was getting ready to lower key rates again. But, not many people expected today's move, particularly the involvement of other central banks. Still, it does signal that the Fed is in tune to the current crisis and ready to act at anytime to help slow or end the market meltdowns.
The only data scheduled for release tomorrow is weekly unemployment figures from the Labor Department. They are expected to show that 475,000 new claims were filed last week, down by 24,000 from the previous week. Unless they vary greatly from forecasts, I don't think this data will affect mortgage rates much.
The only factual economic data of the week will be posted Friday morning. August's Goods and Services Trade Balance will be released that day, but is not likely to cause much of a change in mortgage pricing. It will give us the size of the U.S. trade deficit, but usually does not lead to significant movement in bond prices or mortgage rates.
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 2008