January 5th, 2009 10:43 AM by Lehel Szucs
Monday's bond market has opened well into negative territory despite early stock losses. The stock markets are giving back some of Friday's new year gains with the Dow down 68 points and the Nasdaq down 7 points. The bond market is currently down 28/32, which will likely push this morning's mortgage rates higher by approximately .375 of a discount point.
There is no relevant economic news scheduled for release today. This morning's bond weakness can be attributed to economic stimulus news that has traders concerned. The concern comes from two angles with the first being that an economic recovery will likely be bad news for bonds as stocks will likely become the investment of choice. This could lead to significant selling that would push yields and mortgage rates higher.
The second concern is that any stimulus package will require a large amount of new debt to be issued by the government. The additional supply weakens demand for existing debt, which in turns drives bond prices lower and their yields higher. Even though hard figures or estimates have not been released, traders are assuming that it will create an unfavorable situation for current bonds and Treasury notes.
The rest of the week brings us the release of only two monthly reports that are relevant to the bond market and mortgage rates. However, in addition to those two reports, we also will see the minutes from the last FOMC meeting and a couple of Treasury auctions that may influence bond trading and possibly mortgage rates.
The first of the two reports will be posted late tomorrow morning when the Commerce Department releases November's Factory Orders data. This data gives us a fairly important measurement of manufacturing sector strength. It is similar to the Durable Goods Orders release that was posted late last month, except this report includes orders for both durable and non-durable goods. Durable goods are items that are expected to last three or more years such as electronics and autos. Examples of non-durable goods are food and clothing. Analysts are expecting to see a decline of 2.6% in new orders. This report generally does not have a huge impact on the bond market or mortgage rates, but it can influence bond trading enough to create a minor change in rates.
Also tomorrow will be the release of the minutes from the last FOMC meeting. This will give market participants insight to the Fed's thinking and concerns regarding inflation and monetary policy. It may also help form opinions of the Fed's future moves toward interest rates, even though the Fed appears to be running out of options. It is one of those pieces of information that may cause a great deal of volatility in the markets or be a non-factor, depending on what the minutes show. They will be released at 2:00 PM ET, so they shouldn't affect the markets or mortgage rates until afternoon hours.< br />
There are two Treasury auctions that are worth watching also. The 10-year TIPS Notes (inflation-indexed securities) will be auctioned tomorrow while the traditional 10-year Treasury Note will be sold Thursday. If investor demand for these sales is strong, we should see bonds strengthen during afternoon trading those days and possibly improve mortgage rates slightly. However, a lackluster interest in the sales could cause bond prices to fall and mortgage rates to move higher following the announcement of the sale results.
Overall, the key data of the week will be Friday's Employment report, but look for tomorrow to also be important with the economic data, FOMC minutes and one of the two more important Treasury auctions. If they give us favorable results, mortgage rates will likely move lower for the week. But if not, we will probably see mortgage rates move higher again.
If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I wo uld.... Lock if my closing was taking place within 7 days... Lock if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days... Lock if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days... Lock 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 2009