Monday, April 4, 2016 - Article by: Bart Castelli - Homestar Financial Corporation NMLS #70864 -
Mortgage rates stayed steady today, beginning the first full week of April right in line with the lowest levels in roughly 6 weeks. There were no significant economic events today and very little movement in the bond markets as it was a quiet session with not much news. This week is lacking economic data or anything scheduled that could be a market mover - however there are always issues and news that hits unexpectedly. Just looking at calendars though, not a lot there except tomorrow when the March ISM services sector index will be reported at 9:00 tomorrow. The service sector accounts for the majority of jobs so the index reading will have an impact tomorrow if it deviates from the forecasts in any significant way. The other important news hits on Wednesday afternoon when the FOMC minutes from the March 16th meeting will be released.
This morning's February factory orders were positive, but orders for long-lasting goods declined by a greater-than-expected number after climbing last month. Last Friday the March ISM manufacturing index though did move into expansion for the first time in seven months, so weaker orders in February had little impact on traders this morning.
In the absence of news this week I will focus on the equity markets for anticipated movement. US stocks are looking weaker now, the technicals still holding but softening. Stocks have a lot more emotion connected to them and make it difficult to front-run. I am seeing an increasing number of comments that stocks are losing momentum. The International Monetary Fund said today emerging markets, led by China, will lead to poor stock performance in the U.S. and other global markets.
Crude oil still holds a lot of influence on US and global economies, crude declined almost $3.00 last week, if the price were to continue to decline stocks will be weakened and interest rates would start anther leg lower. Crude oil this afternoon dropped another $1.00. The Saudis said last week, no production cuts unless other including Iran also reduce output. The other OPEC members and other oil producers are not about to cut; a game of chicken.
In summary, after the weekend allowing secondary markets to digest what went on last week, we did see the market improve just a bit. Today's sideways action is a decent sign, in my opinion. Where do we go from here? If you are closing in the next few weeks rates are near the 2016 best levels, so locking makes sense. If closing in a longer time frame, maybe see what happens with an eye on the market.
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