April 29th, 2010 4:28 PM by Lehel S.
Thursday's bond market has opened flat despite early stock gains. The stock markets are showing sizable gains with the Dow up 110 points and the Nasdaq up 25 points. The bond market is nearly unchanged form yesterday's close, which means we will likely see a slight increase in this morning's rates due to the volatility late yesterday.
The Labor Department gave us today's only semi-relevant economic data when they posted last week's unemployment figures. They said that 448,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week. That was close to expectations, so it had practically no impact on this morning's trading or mortgage rates.
Today's 7-year Note auction may impact bond trading and mortgage rates later today. The results of the sale will be posted at 1:00 PM ET, so any reaction will come during afternoon hours. If demand for the notes was strong, we could see bond prices rise and mortgage rates move lower later today. However, a lackluster interest could lead to bond selling and higher mortgage rates.
There are three reports scheduled for release tomorrow morning. The first is the preliminary version of the 1st Quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is arguably the single most important report that we see on a regular basis. The GDP is the sum of all products and services produced in the U.S. and is considered to be the best indicator of economic growth or contraction. I expect this report to cause major movement in the financial markets Friday and therefore the mortgage market also. Analysts are expecting to see an increase in output at an annual rate of 3.3%. A much smaller increase would be good news for mortgage rates. But, a stronger than expected reading would almost certainly cause stock prices to rise and bond prices to fall, leading to higher mortgage rates tomorrow morning.
The second report of the day is the 1st Quarter Employment Cost Index (ECI), which tracks employer costs for wages and benefits. This gives us a measurement of wage-inflation. If it shows a large increase, we may see wage inflation concerns cause the bond market to fall and mortgage rates to rise. A smaller than expected increase would be good news for the bond market and mortgage pricing. Current forecasts are showing a rise of 0.5%.
The last is the University of Michigan's update to their Index of Consumer Sentiment for April. This report gives us an indication of consumer sentiment. I don't expect it to have a significant impact on bonds and mortgage pricing unless it varies greatly from forecasts. Current forecasts are calling for an upward revision to push the index to 71.0. This means that surveyed consumers were more optimistic about their own financial situations than they were earlier this month.
If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Lock if my closing was taking place within 7 days... Lock if my closing w as 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.