Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Market Commentary for Dec. 16th 2009

Wednesday’s bond market has opened in positive territory after this morning’s inflation data did not cause concern like yesterday’s PPI release did. The stock markets are also showing gains with the Dow up 40 points and the Nasdaq up 15 points. The bond market is currently up 10/32, which should improve this morning’s mortgage rates by approximately .125 - .250 of a discount point.

This morning’s major news came from the Labor Department who reported that November’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.4% and that the more important core data reading was unchanged from October’s level. The overall reading matched forecasts but the core data fell short of the 0.2% that was expected. This means that inflation at the consumer level of the economy was not nearly as strong as feared after yesterday’s Producer Price Index was posted. This is good news for the bond market and mortgage rates.

Today’s second release was November's Housing Starts that gave us an indication of housing sector strength. It matched forecasts of an 8.9% rise in construction starts of new homes, but this data is the least important this week’s reports. Its impact on this morning’s bond trading and mortgage rates has been minimal.

Later today, the two-day FOMC meeting with adjourn. There is not much debate about what the Fed will do at this meeting with little chance of them raising key short-term interest rates. Therefore, the post meeting statement will likely be the sole source of a market reaction. This statement has the potential to have a significant influence on the markets and mortgage rates as investors look for any indication of what and when the Fed may do next. Generally speaking, the bond market would like to hear something that indicates the Fed will not be raising rates anytime soon.

Look for an update to this report shortly after the markets have had an opportunity to react to the meeting’s results.

Tomorrow morning does bring us the release of a moderately important when November’s Leading Economic Indicators (LEI). This 10:00 AM release attempts to measure or predict economic activity over the next three to six months. It is expected to show a sizable increase in activity, meaning that it predicts any expanding economy over the next several months. This probably will not have much of an impact on bond prices or affect mortgage rates unless it exceeds current forecasts of a 0.7% increase from October’s reading. The lower the reading, the better the news for bonds. If it shows a smaller increase, the bond market may move slightly higher, improving mortgage rates slightly.

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... Float if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days... Float if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now...

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