November 5th, 2008 9:51 AM by Lehel Szucs
Wednesday's bond market has opened in positive territory, continuing yesterday's late rally. The stock markets are well into negative ground this morning with the Dow down 171 points and the Nasdaq down 37 points. The bond market is currently up 3/32, but due significant strength in bonds late yesterday, we will likely see an improvement of approximately .500 - .625 in today's mortgage rates.
There is no important data scheduled for release today. Tomorrow's sole important report is the 3rd Quarter Productivity reading. The productivity index is expected to show a level of worker productivity during the third quarter much lower than last quarter's final reading of 4.3%. Analysts have forecasted a 1.0 rise in worker output. A larger increase would be good news for the bond market because high levels of productivity helps the economy to expand without inflationary pressures being a concern.
We also will get weekly unemployment figures from the Lab or Department early tomorrow morning. It is expected to show that new claims for benefits fell slightly to 476,000 last week. While this data usually does not have much of an impact on the markets because it tracks only a week's worth of claims, tomorrow's release may be a little more influential than usual. This is because the release will cover the last full week of October and with Friday's monthly report coming out for the entire month, traders will be looking for any significant change in claims that may alter their estimates for the monthly report.
Friday's Employment report is expected to show that the economy lost 200,000 jobs, that unemployment rate moved from 6.1% to 6.3% and that average earnings rose 0.2% during the month. The large drop in payrolls and 0.2% jump in the unemployment rate are numbers of concern to the markets, therefore, I don't believe that we will need to see weaker than expected results to see bonds improve and mortgage rates move lower. However, stronger than forecasted readings could give back this morning's improvements to rates since the markets are expecting weak numbers.
I am expecting to see more volatility in bonds and mortgage rates in the days ahead. Accordingly, it may be a good time to lock if closing in the immediate future. Regardless though, I strongly recommend maintaining contact with your mortgage professional over the next week or so.
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.
©Mortgage Commentary 2008