March 13th, 2009 12:20 PM by Lehel Szucs
Friday's bond market has opened in negative territory following a strong open in stocks and comments made by China that raised concerns of potential selling in bonds. However, stocks have since given back their earlier gains. The Dow is now nearly unchanged while the Nasdaq is now down 7 points. The bond market is currently down 26/32, but strength yesterday will likely keep this morning's mortgage rates close to yesterday's levels.
The first of today's two economic reports was January's Goods and Services Trade Balance report. It showed that the U.S. trade deficit fell to $36.0 billion in January. This was lower than forecasts of a $38.0 billion deficit, but this data usually does not have a major influence on bonds or mortgage rates.
The second report of the morning was the University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment for March. It showed a reading of 56.6 that was a little higher than the 55.0 that was expected and a slight increase f rom February's final reading. This means that consumer confidence was a little stronger than expected. That can be considered bad news for mortgage rates, but since the variance was minor it has not impacted trading this morning.
The comments made by China has some traders believing that they may begin to sell holdings in the near future. Since they hold approximately $727 billion of U.S. debt, or 6% of the total outstanding debt, a selling campaign would likely drive prices lower. Accordingly, traders are taking a cautious approach this morning.
Next week brings us the release of several important reports, including key inflation readings and another FOMC meeting. There is relevant data scheduled for release Monday when February's Industrial Production data will be posted. Look for more details on next week's events in Sunday's weekly preview.
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