December 15th, 2008 2:28 PM by Lehel Szucs
Monday's bond market has opened in positive territory following early stock losses and slightly weaker than expected economic data. The Dow and Nasdaq are kicking the week off in negative ground with losses of 70 points and 30 points respectively. The bond market is currently up 8/32, which should improve this morning's mortgage rates by approximately .250 of a discount point.
This week is moderately busy in terms of the number of economic releases scheduled for release with four on the agenda, but the biggest news will likely be the last Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting of the year tomorrow. Only one of the four economic reports is considered to be of high importance, so the data may not be the biggest influence eon the markets and mortgage rates this week.
November's Industrial Production data was posted mid-morning today, revealing a 0.6% decline in output at U.S. factories, mines and utilities. This was a slightly larger decline than the 0.5% that was expected, indicating that manufacturing activity was a little softer than thought. That is good news for bonds and mortgage rates.
Tomorrow morning brings us the release of November's Consumer Price Index (CPI). It is similar to last week's Producer Price Index, except it tracks inflationary pressures at the consumer level of the economy. It is also one of the most important monthly reports we see. Current forecasts call for a decline of 1.3% in the overall index and a 0.1% rise in the core data reading. The core data is watched more closely because it excludes more volatile food and energy prices, giving a more stabile reading for analysts to consider.
November's Housing Starts report will also be released tomorrow morning, but I don't see it causing much movement in mortgage rates. This report, which is expected to show a decline in starts of new homes, gives us an indication of housing sector strength and future mortgage cred it demand. But, it can be considered the least important of this week's news.
The last FOMC meeting of the year is tomorrow and will adjourn at 2:15 PM ET. There is much debate about what the Fed will do at this meeting, but the general consensus is that another rate cut is coming. Some think that the Fed will reduce key short-term interest rates by another .750 of a discount point, but most think the Fed will make a half-point move and wait until early next year before making another change. The post meeting statement also may a significant influence on the markets and mortgage rates as investors look for any indication of what and when the Fed may do next.
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.
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