April 9th, 2012
Monday’s bond market has opened in positive territory following early stock weakness. As expected, the stock markets are showing sizable losses as they react for the first time to Friday’s Employment numbers. The Dow is currently down 153 points while the Nasdaq has lost 40 points. The bond market is currently up 7/32, which with Friday’s strength after pricing was issued, should improve this morning’s mortgage rates by approximately .250 of a discount point.
Worth noting is that this morning’s early selling has brought the Dow below 13,000 again. It is early in the day and a lot can happen between now and closing, but closing and staying below 13,000 should bode well for the bond market and mortgage rates. That was a threshold that was difficult to cross, so giving it up could signal further stock losses in the immediate future. This would create a flight-to-safety scenario that would likely bring funds from stocks into bonds.
There is no relevant economic news scheduled for today or tomorrow. The rest of the week brings us the release of five economic reports that are relevant to mortgage rates, in addition to a couple of Treasury auctions that have the potential to be influential on the bond market and mortgage pricing. Corporate earnings season also kicks off this week, which will be instrumental in stock market direction and possibly mortgage rate movement.
The first report of the week comes Wednesday afternoon when the Federal Reserve will post its Fed Beige Book report at 2:00 PM ET. This report is named simply after the color of its cover and details economic conditions throughout the U.S. by Federal Reserve region. Since the Fed relies heavily on the contents of this report during their FOMC meetings, its results can have a fairly big impact on the financial markets and mortgage rates if it reveals any significant surprises. Unexpected signs of strong economic growth or rising inflation would be considered negative for bonds and mortgage rates. Slowing economic conditions with little sign of inflationary pressures would be considered favorable for bonds and mortgage pricing.
Overall, look for the most movement in rates the latter part of the week due to the Producer and Consumer Price Indexes being released and the two Treasury auctions that are scheduled, but this morning was a good start. There is also a high probability that the stock markets will also influence bond trading and mortgage rates due to earning releases that could disappoint the markets. I am expecting it to be an active week for the mortgage market, so please maintain contact with your mortgage professional if still floating an interest rate.