May 7th, 2009 8:13 AM by Lehel Szucs
Thursday's bond market has opened in negative territory following the release of stronger than expected economic data and early stock gains. The stock markets are showing moderate strength during early trading with the Dow up 53 points and the Nasdaq up 10 points. The bond market is currently down 13/32, which will likely push this morning's mortgage rates higher by approximately .125 - .250 of a discount point compared to yesterday's morning rates.
The Labor Department gave us both of this morning's releases. The more important of the two was the 1st Quarter Productivity and Costs data that revealed a larger than expected 0.8% increase in worker output. The bad news came from the Unit Labor Costs reading that showed a 3.3% increase. That was higher than the 2.7% that was forecasted, meaning employer costs were higher than thought. Higher costs can translate to wage inflation concerns, therefore, this portion of the report is a negative for bonds.< br />The second bit of news was last week's unemployment figures. It showed that 601,000 new claims for benefits were filed last week. This is a three month low and was well below forecasts of 635,000, but fortunately this data is not considered to be highly influential on mortgage rates. However, it does raise additional concern about tomorrow's monthly report.
Yesterday's 10-year Note sale was met with a decent demand from investors. That led to improvements in bonds during afternoon trading yesterday and some lenders to revise mortgage pricing lower. The Treasury will sell 30-year Bonds today, posting the results at 1:30 PM ET. Another round of strong bidding could cause bonds to get back some of this morning's earlier losses. However, I suspect that most mortgage lenders will wait until tomorrow's big news rather than revising their rates this afternoon.
Tomorrow morning brings us the release of the almighty Employment report, giving us April 's employment statistics. This is where we may see a huge rally or major sell-off in the bond market and large changes in mortgage rates. The ideal situation for the bond and mortgage markets would be a larger than expected increase in the unemployment rate and more payrolls lost during the month than was expected.
It could turn out to be a wonderful day in the mortgage market tomrrow, but it also carries risks of seeing mortgage rates move higher if the Labor Department posts stronger than expected readings. Current forecasts are calling for an 8.9% unemployment rate and approximately 620,000 jobs lost during the 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 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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