May 22nd, 2008 3:43 PM by Lehel Szucs
Thursday's bond market has opened down sharply as concerns about inflation take their toll. The stock markets are showing moderate gains with the Dow up 37 points and the Nasdaq up 14 points. The bond market is currently down 27/32, which will likely push this morning's mortgage rates higher by approximately .250 - .375 of a discount point.
The Labor Department gave us today's only economic reading with the release of weekly unemployment figures. They reported that 365,000 new claims for benefits were filed last week. This was down from the previous week and lower than the 372,000 that were expected. However, this data is not considered to be of high importance and had a minimal impact on today's bond trading or mortgage rates.
Yesterday's release of the minutes from the last FOMC meeting led to some volatility in the markets late yesterday and again this morning. The minutes revealed that the vote for the last rate cut was close and that ther e are obvious concerns not only about economic growth and activity but also about inflation. This has made long-term securities such as mortgage related bonds less attractive to investors because inflation erodes the value of a bond's future fixed interest payments. Traders then need to sell them at a discount to offset that loss in order for an investor to purchase it. The result is bond prices falling while yields and mortgage rates rise.
The National Association of Realtors will give us the Existing Home Sales report tomorrow morning. This data tracks resales of homes in the U.S., giving us a measurement of housing sector strength. It is not considered to be of much importance to the bond market unless it varies greatly from forecasts. Current forecasts are calling for a decline in sales between March and April.
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.
©Mortgage Commentary 2008