March 15th, 2010 1:45 PM by Lehel S.
Monday's bond market opened down slightly but moved into positive territory during afternoon trading despite the rebound in stock prices. After showing earlier losses, the Dow rallied during late trading to close up 17 points while the Nasdaq cut its losses to close down only 5 points. The bond market improvement should improve this afternoon's mortgage rates by approximately .125 - .250 of a discount point.
This morning's only economic data was February's Industrial Production that showed a 0.1% increase in output when it was expected to remain unchanged. This means that manufacturing activity was a little stronger than thought. It can be considered negative news for bonds and mortgage rates, but the difference between forecasts and the actually reading were not enough to affect rates much.
Tomorrow's only factual economic news is February's Housing Starts, but it will likely not have much of an impact on mortgage rates. It gives us a measurement of housing sector strength and future mortgage credit demand, but is usually considered to be of low importance to the financial markets. It is expected to show a decline in new starts from January to February.
The big news tomorrow is the FOMC meeting that will adjourn at 2:00 PM ET. It is widely believed that the Fed will make no change to key short-term interest rates at this meeting, but the post-meeting statement will be watched closely for any indication of when they will make a move. Generally speaking, the bond market wants to hear that inflation is not an immediate concern and that key rates will be kept at current levels for the near future. If the statement reassures traders that the Fed will not be raising rates anytime soon, we can expected the bond market to thrive and mortgage rates to move lower. However, if any hint of a move sooner than later could lead to bond selling and higher mortgage rates.Overall, look for Thursday to be the most important day of the week due to the CPI release, but tomorrow's FOMC meeting can also heavily influence the markets. Wednesday may also be an active day for rates with the PPI on tap. Friday will probably be the calmest day for mortgage rates, but it appears there is a good possibility of seeing plenty of movement in rates the next several days. Therefore, please proceed cautiously if still floating an interest rate.
If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Lock if my closing was taking place within 7 days... Lock 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.