March 2nd, 2009 12:41 PM by Lehel Szucs
Monday's bond market has opened up sharply following significant losses in stocks. The stock markets are showing early losses due to more concerns about banks and the Fed's need to stabilize the financial system. The Dow is currently down 180 points while the Nasdaq has lost 38 points. The bond market is currently up 27/32, which will likely improve this morning's mortgage rates by approximately .375 of a discount point.
There were two pieces of economic data released this morning and both showed stronger than expected results. The first was January's Personal Income and Outlays data that showed personal income rose 0.4% while spending rose 0.6%. Both readings were higher than forecasts, but the income reading was well off expectations. Analysts were calling for a decline in income of 0.2%. This means that consumers had much more income to spend than thought and apparently spent more of it than they had expected. This is considered negative news for bo nds and mortgage rates.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported late this morning that their manufacturing index for February rose slightly to 35.8. Forecasts had called for a decline in the index, meaning that manufacturer sentiment was higher in the month than thought. This is also bad news for bonds because a strengthening manufacturing sector would indicate and increase in economic activity.
Despite this morning's data, bonds have drawn interest from investors over more concerns about AIG and other financial institutions. Those concerns have pushed the Dow to its lowest level in approximately 12 years. As investors sell stocks they are moving funds into the safety of bonds. The result is a nice rally in bonds that may continue for a couple of days.
Tomorrow's only relevant data is the Fed Beige Book during afternoon trading. This report details economic activity throughout the country by region. The Fed relies heavily on t his data during their FOMC meetings, so look for a potential reaction during afternoon trading tomorrow. It probably will not cause a major sell off in the stock or bond markets, but could cause enough movement in bond prices to possibly improve or worsen mortgage rates slightly if it reveals any significant surprises.
If I were considering financing/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