April 1st, 2010 8:54 AM by Lehel S.
Wednesday's bond market has opened in positive territory after this morning's economic news didn't surprise anyone. The stock markets are showing early losses with the Dow down 37 points and the Nasdaq down 3 points. The bond market is currently up 9/32, which should improve this morning's mortgage rates by approximately .125 - .250 of a discount point.
The Commerce Department gave us today's only relevant economic data when they released February's Factory Orders late this morning. They announced an increase in new orders of 0.6%, but also revised January's orders higher than previously announced. So, this data can be considered fairly neutral or slightly favorably to bonds and mortgage rates.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) will release their manufacturing index late Thursday morning. This index gives us an important measurement of manufacturer sentiment by surveying trade executives and is one of the more important of this week's dat a. A reading above 50 means more surveyed executives felt business improved during the month than those who said it had worsened. This month's report is expected to show a reading of 57.0, which would be a small increase from February's reading of 56.5. This means that analysts think business sentiment remained fairly close to last month's level.
Also being posted tomorrow are weekly unemployment figures from last week. The Labor Department will release the number of new claims filed last week for unemployment benefits, giving us a small reading of labor market strength or weakness. They are expected to announce that 440,000 new claims were filed. This would be a slight decline from the previous week, but unless we see a much larger or small total, this data likely will have little impact on the bond market or mortgage rates. That is because it tracks only a single week's worth of claims and we have monthly results being posted Friday morning.
We a lso can't forget about Friday's unique circumstances. It is Good Friday and recognized as a holiday, so the stock markets will be closed. However, the bond market will be open until noon ET Friday before closing for the holiday. In addition, we have a highly significant piece of data being posted at 8:30 AM ET Friday when the Labor Department will release March's Employment report. This makes it very likely that we will see plenty of movement in bonds and mortgage rates before the bond market closes at noon. It also means that we can expect to see more volatility Monday morning when the stock markets have an opportunity to react to Friday's data, which also will influence bond trading. It will be interesting to see what transpires those days, especially if Friday's report reveals surprising results.
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.