It was another volatile week for mortgage rates. The primary factors influencing rates roughly offset each other, though, and mortgage rates ended the week just a little higher.
A wide range of economic news caused investors to either add or reduce risk at a rapid pace this week. News which generally encouraged increased exposure to risky assets helped stocks and hurt mortgage rates early in the week, while the opposite took place later in the week. Mixed US economic data, continued concerns about European debt, a highly anticipated speech from Fed Chief Bernanke, and uncertainty about the impact of Hurricane Irene all contributed to the daily volatility.
In Friday's speech, Fed Chief Bernanke gave no hint of any change in Fed policy, disappointing some investors hoping for looser monetary conditions. He stated that at its September meeting the Fed will consider whether additional monetary stimulus measures are called for, but that fiscal policy changes by lawmakers are needed to help the economy and the labor market. Following the speech, the consensus view is that the Fed is unlikely to make significant policy changes for a while.