March 18th, 2009 10:22 AM by Lehel Szucs
Wednesday's bond market has opened in positive territory following early stock losses and despite stronger than expected inflation news. The stock markets are posting sizable losses with the Dow down 128 points and the Nasdaq down 11 points. The bond market is currently up 16/32, but we will likely see little change in this morning's mortgage rates as the markets await the Fed's words later this afternoon.
The Labor Department gave us today's important data with the release of February's Consumer Price Index (CPI). It showed a 0.4% rise in the overall reading and a 0.2% increase in the core data reading. Both readings were slightly stronger than expected, indicating prices at the consumer level of the economy were higher than thought. While that is bad news for bonds and mortgage rates because inflation erodes the value of a bond's future fixed interest payments, the market seems to have downplayed the data in this morning's trading.
This week' s FOMC meeting will adjourn at 2:00 PM ET today. There is not likely to be any change in short-term interest rates, but the markets will be looking for any indication if the Fed will be buying bonds as part of its effort to keep the markets liquid. If the Fed does start buying the debt, it should ease investor concerns about the amount of the debt that has been sold to fund the economic recovery and bailout programs. This would also likely prevent China, who made concerning comments last week, from selling some of their massive holdings in U.S. securities. The Fed move would also likely help keep mortgage rates low, possibly even driving them lower than current levels.
If the post-meeting statement indicates that the Fed is ready to start buying bonds, we could see an afternoon rally that may revise mortgage pricing lower this afternoon. However, any hint that the move may be delayed or is not going to happen would likely lead to selling in bonds and higher m ortgage rates later today.
Look for an update to this report shortly after the markets have an opportunity to react to the statement.
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.
©Mortgage Commentary 2009