February 11th, 2010 10:12 AM by Lehel S.
Thursday's bond market has opened in negative territory again with no important economic data or noticeable stock movements to influence trading. The stock markets are nearly unchanged from yesterday's close while the bond market is currently down 5/32. This, along with yesterday's late weakness, will likely push this morning's mortgage rates higher by approximately .250 - .375 of a discount point over yesterday's morning rates.
The Labor Department gave us today's only economic data, but it was not anything considered highly important. They said that 440,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week. This was much lower than expected, indicating that the labor market may have been stronger than thought last week. However, since this data covers only a single week, it usually does not heavily influence bond trading or mortgage rates.
As expected, yesterday's 10-year Note auction did not go very well, leading to afternoon selling in bonds and this morning's increase in mortgage pricing. I have no reason to believe that today's 30-year Bond sale will go much better. But, I also don't believe we will see the same reaction as we did yesterday once the results are posted. The market is not expecting a strong sale, so unless it is a miserably weak auction, we likely will not see bonds react negatively enough to change mortgage rates later today. Results of the sale will be posted at 1:00 PM ET.
Tomorrow morning brings us the release of this week's most important data and one of the more important reports that we see each month. January's Retail Sales data will be released early tomorrow morning, giving us a key measurement of consumer spending. Since consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy, any related data is watched quite closely. If it reveals weaker than expected sales, the bond market should thrive and mortgage rates will fall. However, a stronger reading than the 0. 5% increase that is expected could lead to higher mortgage rates tomorrow morning.
February's preliminary reading to the University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment will be released late tomorrow morning. This index measures consumer willingness to spend and usually has a moderate impact on the financial markets. If it shows an increase in consumer confidence, the stock markets may move higher and bond prices could fall. It is currently expected to rise from January's final reading of 74.4 to 75.0 for this month.
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... Lock 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 in terest of all/any other borrowers.