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James Brooks

Mortgage Rates Remain Unchanged 5-7-2014

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - Article by: James Brooks - Message

By James Brooks

Today's bond market is down slightly due to the recent unfavorable economic news and some geopolitical related words that appear to ease some concerns about the current crisis.

Today's only factual economic data was 1st Quarter Productivity and Costs data at 8:30 AM ET. It showed that worker productivity fell 1.7% during the first three months of the year. This was weaker than expected, but in this particular report that makes the data bad news for the bond and mortgage markets. Furthermore, the Unit Labor Costs reading within the report revealed a 4.2% rise when analysts were forecasting only 2.5%. Since both readings are not favorable for long-term bonds, we should consider this morning's data negative for rates. Fortunately this data is not highly influential on the markets.

Fed Chairman Janet Yellen is currently speaking before the Joint Economic Committee in Washington D.C. None of her comments so far are significantly surprising, although she noted that the labor market is "far from satisfactory" and that potential weakness in the housing sector is worth close observation. She also reminded that current geopolitical tensions do pose a risk to our overall economic growth. None of these points come as a surprise but hearing them from the Fed Chief can only help the mortgage industry.

The first of this week's two Treasury auctions that can influence mortgage pricing is taking place today also. The Treasury will hold a 10-year Note sale today and a 30-year Bond sale tomorrow. Results of the auction will be posted at 1:00 PM ET. If there was a strong demand from investors, we could see bond prices rise and mortgage rates improve early this afternoon. However, lackluster bidding in the sales, meaning longer-term securities are losing their appeal, could lead to an upward move in rates.

Tomorrow's only relevant data is the Labor Department's weekly unemployment update. They will give us last week's unemployment numbers early tomorrow morning. It is expected to show that 325,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week, down from the previous week's 344,000. The larger the number of initial claims, the better the news it is for the bond market and mortgage pricing because rising claims indicate employment sector weakness.

Besides the unemployment figures, we also have another congressional appearance by Fed Chairperson Janet Yellen. She will appear before the Senate Budget Committee at 9:30 AM ET tomorrow morning. Anytime the Fed Chairman is speaking, the media and market participants watch closely, but I don't believe we will hear something significant that we would not have heard today.

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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