Wednesday's bond market has opened in negative territory again following early stock strength and mixed economic news. The stock markets are posting strong gains with the Dow up 101 points while the Nasdaq has gained 33 points. The bond market is currently down 8/32, which will likely push this morning's mortgage rates higher by approximately .250 of a discount point.
The first of today's two releases gave us favorable news when the 3rd Quarter Productivity index was revised significantly higher. It showed that worker output improved at a 6.3% annual pace. This was higher than the 5.8% that was expected and much higher than the previous estimate of 4.9%. This is good news because high levels of productivity allow economic growth without significant inflationary pressures.
The second report of the day was October's Factory Orders that showed a 0.5% increase in new orders. This was a sizable variance from the latest estimates of no change from September. The increase indicates that manufacturing activity may be stronger than some had thought. This was the bad news that helped push bond prices lower.
There is no important news scheduled for release tomorrow. The Labor Department will post November's Employment report early Friday morning. The report is comprised of many statistics and readings, but the mos t important ones are the unemployment rate, the number of news jobs added or lost during the month and average hourly earnings. Current forecasts call for a slight upward change in the unemployment rate to 4.8%, new payrolls up approximately 70,000 and an increase of 0.3% in average earnings. An ideal scenario for mortgage shoppers would be a higher unemployment rate than 4.8%, a much smaller increase in jobs than is expected and no change in the earnings portion.
The fifth and final report of the week is December's preliminary reading to the University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment Friday morning. This index measures consumer willingness to spend and can usually have enough of an impact on the financial markets to change mortgage rates slightly. However, with the employment figures out before this data, I don't expect it to affect mortgage rates much. It is expected to show a reading of 75.0, which would be a decline from last month's final reading.
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... Lock if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days... Float if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now... This is only my opinion of what I would do if I were financing a home. It is only an opinion and cannot be guaranteed to be in the best interest of all/any other borrowers.
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