March 4th, 2009 12:39 PM by Lehel Szucs
Wednesday's bond market has opened well into negative territory following a strong opening in stocks. The stock markets are rallying with the Dow up 150 points and the Nasdaq up 32 points. The bond market is currently down 28/32, which will likely push this morning's mortgage rates higher by approximately .125 - .250 of a discount point.
There were no important economic reports scheduled for release this morning. The Fed will release its Beige Book at 2:00 PM ET today. This report details economic activity throughout the country by region. The Fed relies heavily on this data during their FOMC meetings, so look for a potential reaction during afternoon trading tomorrow. It probably will not cause a major sell off in the stock or bond markets, but could cause enough movement in bond prices to possibly improve or worsen mortgage rates slightly if it reveals any significant surprises.
There are two important reports scheduled for release tomorrow m orning. The first is the revised Productivity index for the 4th Quarter of last year. The preliminary reading posted last month showed a 3.2% increase in worker output. Analysts are expecting to see a sizable downward revision to the initial reading. It is expected to be cut to a 1.6% increase in output, meaning workers were not as productive as previously thought during the quarter. The Unit Labor Costs reading is expected to be revised higher to 3.4%. Employee productivity and costs are watched fairy closely because a higher level of output per hour is believed to mean that the economy can expand without inflation concerns, while increases in employee costs do raise inflation fears.
January's Factory Orders will be posted late tomorrow morning, which will give us a measurement of manufacturing sector strength. This data is similar to last week's Durable Goods, except this report covers orders for both durable and non-durable goods. Current forecasts are calling for a drop in new orders of approximately 2.1%. A larger than expected drop would be good news for the bond market and could lead to an improvement in mortgage rates.
We also will get weekly unemployment numbers from the Labor Department, but I am not expecting them to heavily influence bond trading or mortgage rates.
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.
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