February 20th, 2009 6:20 PM by Lehel Szucs
Friday's bond market has opened up sharply following early stock losses and renewed fears about the economy. The stock markets are showing early sizable losses after international markets posted large declines during overnight trading. The Dow is currently down 120 points while the Nasdaq has lost 13 points. The bond market is currently up 31/32, which will likely improve this morning's mortgage rates by approximately .375 of a discount point.
The Labor Department gave us January's Consumer Price Index (CPI) this morning, saying that the overall index rose 0.3% as expected. The core data rose 0.2%, exceeding analysts' forecasts of a 0.1% increase. This means that consumer prices rose more than expected if excluding volatile food and energy prices. That is considered bad news for bonds, but the stock and economic concerns has prevented a negative reaction to this morning's news.
The concerns, both here and overseas, about the global economy are contributing greatly to this morning's bond gains. We are seeing a shift to safety as investors sell stocks and move funds into bonds. While this is good news for the bond market and mortgage rates, this is sometimes only a temporary move and could lead to further volatility in trading in the coming days and weeks. If investors become more comfortable with stocks, we could see those same funds move from bonds back into stocks, driving bonds prices lower and mortgage rates higher. Still, no reason to panic. This just means we need to watch the markets closely.
Next week is fairly active in terms of economic releases and relevant events. There is no important news scheduled for release Monday, but we do get important data and the semi-annual monetary policy testimony from the Fed Chairman to Congress on Tuesday. The rest of the week is scattered with relevant data releases, so look to Sunday's weekly preview for details.
If I were considering finan cing/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 2009