March 12th, 2009 1:10 PM by Lehel Szucs
Thursday's bond market has opened flat despite early stock gains and stronger than expected economic news. The Dow is currently up 99 points while the Nasdaq is up 14 points. The bond market is currently up 2/32, but we will likely see an improvement in this morning's mortgage rates of approximately .375 of a discount point due to strength in bonds late yesterday.
The Commerce Department posted February's Retail Sales data this morning, revealing a 0.1% decline in sales. This was stronger than the 0.4% that was expected. Today's release also revised January's sales figures higher 0.8%, meaning that sales at the retail level of the economy were stronger than expected the past two months. That is considered to be bad news for the bond market and mortgage rates, but the market seems to be shrugging off the data.
Also this morning, the Labor Department announced that 654,000 new claims for benefits were filed last week. This was a little higher than expected, but this weekly report usually does not carry much influence on the markets and mortgage rates unless it varies greatly from forecasts.
The 30-year Bond auction is being held today. Results will be posted at 1:00 PM, as yesterday's 10-year Note sale. Yesterday's sale was met with a strong demand from investors, which helped rally bonds during afternoon trading. The 10-year Note is more relevant to mortgage rates than the 30-year Bond, but a weak or strong sale today can lead to selling to selling or buying of bonds on a broader scale. So, if we get another strong interest in the sale, we may see bonds rally again this afternoon.
There are two economic reports scheduled to be posted tomorrow morning. The first is the release of January's Goods and Services Trade Balance. This report gives us the size of the U.S. trade deficit. It is the week's least important piece of news and likely will not influence mortgage rates much. It is expecte d to show a trade deficit of $38.2 billion.
The second report of the morning is the University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment for March at 9:45 AM. This index gives us a measurement of consumer willingness to spend. If confidence is rising, then consumers are more apt to make large purchases. This helps fuel consumer spending and economic growth. A drop in confidence will probably hurt the stock markets and boost bond prices, leading to lower mortgage rates. If the index rises, indicating that confidence is rising and spending will likely rise, we may see mortgage rates move higher late tomorrow morning. It is expected to show a reading of 56.3.
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.
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