July 21st, 2009 8:41 AM by Lehel Szucs
Tuesday's bond market initially opened in negative territory but has since rallied well into positive ground. The stock markets are mixed with the Dow up 60 points and the Nasdaq down 3 points. The bond market is currently up 19/32, which will likely improve this morning's mortgage rates by approximately .250 - .375 of a discount point.
Today's bond rally is the result of Fed Chairman Bernanke's semi-annual testimony to Congress on the status of the economy and monetary policy. He stated that the economy's slowdown has slowed significantly, meaning the recession may be ending relatively soon. But he cautioned that there is uncertainty ahead for the economy and strengthening may be gradual. He also sated that the labor market remains weak and that the unemployment rate will likely remain higher than they would prefer until 2012 or later.
The weak employment and housing markets should help keep inflation under control in the near future, making long-term securities such as mortgage-related bonds more attractive to investors. This led to the surge in bond prices this morning and pushed today's mortgage rates lower. And if bond prices continue to rise, we may even see more improvements in rates later today. In other words, today's events were extremely favorable to mortgage shoppers.
Mr. Bernanke will repeat this act tomorrow to the Senate Banking Committee, likely with little change to his prepared testimony. Therefore, his words are not expected to have much of an impact on the markets unless an answer to a Senator's question surprises traders or contradicts something portrayed today.
There is no relevant economic data scheduled for release tomorrow to influence bond trading or mortgage rates. This should be good news for mortgage rates as today's rally may continue into tomorrow's trading with nothing on the calendar that has the potential to derail it.
The next monthly econo mic data comes from the National Association of Realtors Thursday morning when they post June's Existing Home Sales figures. This report gives us a measurement of housing sector strength and mortgage credit demand, but it is not considered highly important and often has a minimal impact on mortgage rates. Current forecasts are calling for an increase from May's sales totals. A smaller than expected increase or a decline in sales would be considered good news for bonds and mortgage rates because a weak housing sector would make it difficult for the economy to recover anytime soon. However, unless this data varies greatly from forecasts it probably will not lead to much of a change in rates.
If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Float if my closing was taking place within 7 days... Float 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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