September 15th, 2008 9:40 AM by Lehel Szucs
Monday's bond market has opened up sharply following a steep sell-off in stocks during early trading. The stock markets are reacting to news that Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and other related financial sector news. This has pushed the Dow lower by 250 points and the Nasdaq down 33 points. The bond market is currently up 48/32, which should improve this morning's mortgage rates by approximately .500 of a discount point.
The news the Lehman was unable to find buyers for its businesses and filed for bankruptcy protection has significantly raised concerns that the financial sector of the market is nowhere near stabilizing and has many fearing that more collapses may be coming in the near future. There are concerns about other banks and financial services companies on the verge of collapse that could create turmoil in international markets also. The benefactor to this news and concern is the bond market as investors seek safe-haven from the volatili ty. Whether this spike in bond prices will hold is unknown at this time, but what is a safe bet is that more news like this weekend's reports could make mortgage-related bonds much more attractive to investors and may lead to a downward trend in mortgage rates.
Also contributing to this morning's bond gains was a much larger decline in industrial production than analysts had expected. This morning's release of August's Industrial Production report revealed a 1.1% decline in factory output. This was much weaker than analysts' forecasts of a 0.3% decline and indicates that the manufacturing sector was weaker than thought in August. This is good news for bonds and mortgage rates because slowing economic activity eases inflation concerns.
Tomorrow morning brings us the release of August's Consumer Price Index (CPI). This is one of the most important reports we see each and every month. It is considered to be a key indicator of inflation at the consumer le vel of the economy. There are two readings in the report- the overall index and the core data reading. Current forecasts are calling for 0.1% decline in the overall reading and a 0.2% rise in the core data reading. A larger increase in the core data would likely lead to higher mortgage rates tomorrow, while a smaller increase would be good news.
The FOMC meeting will adjourn at 2:15 PM tomorrow. There is little debate about a possible change to key short-term interest rates at this meeting. The overwhelming consensus is that there will be no change to rates at this meeting. However, the post-meeting statement could very well lead to volatility during afternoon trading as investors dissect it in an effort to find the Fed's expected next move. The wild card is how the markets react to the statement. If we see significant weakness in stocks, the bond market may benefit as a safe-haven from the volatility. This could lead to lower mortgage rates tomorrow afternoon and Wednesday morning.
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... Lock 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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