Traders gobble up data suggesting worldwide growth may be stronger than expected this year; Unemployment claims fall more than expected; Mortgage rates at new lows - Rate Lock Report for Thursday, July 8th, 2010
Stocks got a nice bump yesterday as bargain-hunting traders swooped into financial sector companies, among others. After Tuesday's near-panic over a possible double-dip recession, stock prices presented a nice opportunity, enough to push the Dow Jones Industrial Average over 10,000 again. Unfortunately for mortgage pricing, much of the money needed for this came from sales of other assets, like mortgage-backed securities, causing pricing to worsen by as much as 3/8 of a point yesterday.
Pricing this morning is slightly worse again, as better-than-expected unemployment claims hit markets. Only 454,000 filed first-time claims last week, compared to expectations of 465,000 and last week's total of 472,000 new claims. While this does represent an improvement, it is still at a level higher than what would be suggestive of real employment growth. Continuing claims declined, and are expected to continue declining as more long-term unemployed run out of benefits.
The International Monetary Fund reported today it expects worldwide economic growth to come in higher than originally expected, reaching 4.6% in 2010. This has helped to support yesterday's stock market rally, although it isn't strong enough news to push stocks higher. The IMF suggested it expects US growth to hit 3.3% for the year; the principal driver of its bigger growth expectation is Asian economies. Worldwide growth gives us insight into possible future interest rate increases. We will get the first look at 2nd quarter 2010 US economic growth later this month through the Advance GDP report.
Mortgage rates hit another new low today at an average of 4.57% for a 30 year fixed, according to this week's Freddie Mac Survey. Freddie Mac has surveyed mortgage lenders each week since 1970 to establish weekly average interest rates and fees. Current fees average 0.7 points, according to the survey.
We appear to be entering a period where there could be a bit more volatility in mortgage pricing. With the stock market finally catching a bit of a break yesterday, and having nearly cleared a week almost devoid of economic data, I am concerned that there could be another move in mortgage rates coming. Next week brings some more meaningful data, and it also brings a substantial supply of new Treasury paper, which serves as a barometer for the direction of mortgage rates. I maintain my recommendation from yesterday that the market demands a bit more caution now, and that you should consider locking deals more proactively now. There are certainly situations that still justify floating, but I would want to have more of my pipeline locked at this time.
Tomorrow brings us another test of the "Friday Effect". Will it kick in again? Stay tuned to find out. If you have questions regarding Rhode Island Refinance Rates, or whether or not to lock your loan, please don't hesitate to contact me by cell at (401) 263-8655, or by commenting on this post. Have a great day!
Dan Hartman is a Senior Mortgage Advisor with Province Mortgage Associates, and serves as an Adjunct Professor of Finance and Economics at Roger Williams University and the University of New Haven. He has been helping homeowners and homebuyers with their mortgage questions for over 10 years.