March 6th, 2009 10:31 AM by Lehel Szucs
Friday's bond market has opened in positive territory after this morning's major economic news failed to hurt the recent enthusiasm in bonds. The stock markets are in negative ground, but were showing strong gains during early trading. The Dow is currently down 19 points while the Nasdaq has lost 12 points as the opening rally has fizzled. The bond market is currently up 5/32, which with yesterday's gains should improve this morning's mortgage rates by approximately .375 of a discount point.
The Labor Department reported this morning that the unemployment rate spiked to a 25-year high of 8.1% last month. This was higher than the 7.9% rate that was expected, which can be considered good news for bonds. The reports also revealed that 651,000 jobs were lost during the month, but that was very close to forecasts. It also revised February's job loss higher by 57,000 jobs. The hourly earnings reading matched forecasts of a 0.2% increase.
Overall, t he unemployment rate was an attention magnet, but the other portions of the report are a non-factor in this morning's trading and mortgage rates. The early rise then fall in stocks indicates that further weakness in them could be likely. That may benefit bonds as investors seek shelter from the volatility. However, if stocks can hold any type of a rally, the bond market could see considerable weakness, likely driving mortgage rates higher.
Next week is pretty light in terms of economic releases. There are only a couple of relevant reports scheduled to be posted, but one of them is highly important. None of the relevant news will be posted until mid-week, so look for a relative calm day for mortgage rates Monday unless the stock markets rally or sell-off again. Sunday's weekly preview will have more details on next week's events.
If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Float if my closing was taking place within 7 days... Fl oat 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.