July 20th, 2009 8:51 AM by Lehel Szucs
Monday's bond market has opened down slightly following stronger than expected economic news and minor gains in stocks. The stock markets are starting the week in positive territory with the Dow up 22 points and the Nasdaq up 5 points. The bond market is currently down 2/32, which should keep this morning's mortgage rates at Friday's levels.
The Conference Board, who is a New York-based business research group, reported that their Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) rose 0.7% last month. Analysts were expecting a 0.5% increase, meaning that the index is predicting more economic activity over the next three to six months than many had thought. That news is considered bad for bonds, but fortunately this index is considered to be only moderately important to bonds and mortgage rates.
There is no relevant economic data scheduled for release tomorrow, but Fed Chairman Bernanke will speak before the House Financial Services Committee. This is day one hi s semi-annual testimony on the Fed's monetary policy and the status of the economy. He will speak to the Senate Banking Committee Wednesday morning. Analysts and traders will be watching his words closely for any hint of the Fed's next move with key interest rates. They will likely create a great deal of volatility in the markets during the testimony and the question and answer session that follows.
If his testimony indicates that inflation is a point of concern or that the economy looks to recover sooner than thought, we will likely see the bond market tank and mortgage rates rise. We usually see the most movement in rates during the first day of testimony as the Chairman's prepared words for both appearances are quite similar to each other, meaning that the second day rarely gives us anything we did not hear during the first day.
Overall, this is a moderately significant week for the bond market and mortgage rates. If we get weaker than expected ec onomic results and Chairman Bernanke's words do not surprise the markets, we may see mortgage rates move lower for the week. However, if Mr. Bernanke's testimony raises inflation concerns- rates may again move higher on the week.
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.
©Mortgage Commentary 2009