September 17th, 2008 10:10 AM by Lehel Szucs
Wednesday's bond market has opened in positive territory following significant losses in the stock markets. The Dow is currently down 281 points while the Nasdaq has lost 70 points. The bond market is currently up 9/32, but we will still see an extremely large increase in mortgage rates compared to yesterday's. Overall, this morning's rates should be approximately one full discount point higher, or a quarter of a percent in rate.
This morning's stock weakness is a result of more concerning news in the financial sector, particularly the need for the Fed to intervene in the AIG crisis and other related issues. The stock markets managed to rally late yesterday after the Fed meeting adjourned, leading to selling in bonds that affected this morning's mortgage pricing. Despite today's stock weakness, the bond market cannot overcome its concerns nor erase the losses from yesterday that are helping to drive mortgage rates higher this morning.
Today's only relevant economic news was the release of August's Housing Starts that showed new starts for homes fell to a 17 year low last month. This was a level that was much weaker than analysts had expected. However, because this data is not considered to be of high importance to the markets, its impact on this morning's mortgage rates has been limited.
The Labor Department will give us weekly unemployment claims tomorrow morning. They are expected to show that 440,000 new claims for benefits were filed last week. This would be a slight decline from the previous week.
Late tomorrow morning, the Conference Board will release its Leading Economic Indicators (LEI). This index attempts to measure economic activity over the next three to six months. If it estimates an increase in activity, the bond market will probably fall and mortgage rates will rise slightly. If it shows weaker than expected readings, the bond market may rally and mortgage rates should f all. Current forecasts are calling for a 0.2% decline from July's reading.
I am still expecting to see more volatility in the markets and potentially mortgage rates. Accordingly, please maintain fairly constant contact with your mortgage professional if you have not locked an interest rate yet.
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.
©Mortgage Commentary 2008