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Mortgage Rates (2/17/2011)

February 17th, 2011 2:08 PM by Lehel S.

Thursday’s bond market has opened well in positive territory even though this morning’s key inflation data gave us stronger than expected results. The stock markets are showing minor losses with the Dow down 23 points and the Nasdaq down 3 points. The bond market is currently up 15/32, which should improve this morning’s mortgage rates by approximately .250 of a discount point.

The Labor Department gave us this morning’s major news with the release of January's Consumer Price Index (CPI). They announced increase of 0.4% in the overall reading and 0.2% in the core data. Both readings were slightly higher than forecasts, meaning that inflationary pressures at the consumer level of the economy were a little stronger than many had thought. That is bad news for the bond market and mortgage rates because rising inflation erodes the value of a bond’s future fixed interest payments and leads to bond prices falling to offset the loss i n value. This is why when inflation is a concern, bond prices suffer and mortgage rates tend to rise.

They also gave us last week’s unemployment figures that showed new claims for unemployment benefits rose above 400,000. The 410,000 new claims were slightly higher than what analysts had expected, but more importantly they did not decline again. This is the second time that they have fallen below the 400,000 benchmark, only to immediately move back above. Therefore, we can consider this data favorable for bonds and mortgage rates.

January’s Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) were posted late this morning, showing a 0.1% increase that fell short of expectations. This indicates that the report is predicting flat economic growth during the next three to six months, making it good news for bonds and mortgage pricing. However, this is not the catalyst to this morning’s bond rally because the CPI is certainly more important to the marke ts than this report is.

It appears that the CPI results did not concern the markets, to the benefit of mortgage shoppers. Today’s bond rally isn’t a result of comments during Fed Chairman Bernanke’s testimony either since he said little about the economy and monetary policy. It is quite possible that the lack of movement in stocks has helped draw funds into bonds. I would not be surprised at all to see stocks move lower from current levels and bond prices move higher. Today’s bond buying may be the beginning of that trend.

There is no relevant economic data scheduled for release tomorrow, so look for the stock markets to help drive bond prices. Yesterday’s release of the FOMC minutes did reveal that Fed members were more optimistic about economic growth, going as far as revising their forecasts for economic growth this year. That could mean that they may be starting to at least consider changes in monetary policy some time later this year. However, they still remained quite concerned about the labor market and the unemployment rate. After the minutes were released, we did see bond prices weaken a little, but nothing drastic happened to mortgage pricing.

If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Float 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. 
Posted in:General
Posted by Lehel S. on February 17th, 2011 2:08 PM



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