August 15th, 2009 8:54 AM by Lehel Szucs
Friday's bond market has opened in positive territory again after this morning's economic data failed to give us any major surprises. Contributing to today's early bond strength is a weak opening for stocks that has the Dow down 131 points and the Nasdaq down 32 points. The bond market is currently up 13/32, which with yesterday's late strength should improve this morning's mortgage rates by approximately .500 of a discount point compared to yesterday's morning rates.
The Labor Department gave us today's most important data with the release of July's Consumer Price Index (CPI). They reported that the overall index was unchanged form June's level and that the core data reading rose 0.1%. Both of these readings matched forecasts, indicating that consumer prices remain in-check last month. But the index has fallen 2.1% over the past 12 months, matching the largest year-over-year decline since 1950. That is good news for bonds because it means that inflation is not currently a threat to the economy. Inflation erodes the value of a bond's future fixed interest payments, leading to higher mortgage rates. When inflation concerns are low, bonds are usually more appealing to investors. As bonds are bought, their prices rise, pushing their yields and mortgage rates lower.
The second report of the day was Industrial Production data for July. It showed a 0.5% increase in output and U.S. factories, mines and utilities. Analysts were expecting to see a 0.4% rise, meaning manufacturing activity was slightly stronger than expected. This can be considered negative for bonds, but the minimal size of the variance and the fact that this data is not extremely important to the markets has prevented it from affecting this morning's mortgage pricing.
The final report of the week was the University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment for August late this morning. It gave us a reading of 63.2 that was well below forec asts of a 69.0 that was expected. That indicates that consumers were less optimistic about their own financial situations than many had thought. This is good news for bonds because falling confidence usually translates into weaker levels of consumer spending. Since consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy, any related data is watched closely.
Yesterday's 30-year Bond auction went fairly well, leading to higher bonds prices during afternoon trading Thursday. This caused some lenders to revise their rates slightly lower late yesterday, while others may have waited until this morning to reflect those changes.
Next week is relative light in terms of economic releases, at least if comparing to the last two weeks. There is no relevant data scheduled to be posted Monday, but we will get another important inflation reading later in the week. Look for more details on next week's events in Sunday's weekly preview.
If I were conside ring 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