Comments from Fed officials and a much stronger than expected Employment report were negative for mortgage rates over the past week. As a result, mortgage rates ended the week higher.
Many top Fed officials made speeches over the last few days, and they shared a similar message. As the Fed's Lockhart put it, a rate hike is possible at the next meeting on December 16, but that it is not a "certainty." Fed Chair Yellen said essentially the same thing. Each Fed official repeated that the decision will depend on the performance of the economy.
The Unemployment Rate unexpectedly declined from 5.1% to 5.0%, the lowest level since April 2008. Average Hourly Earnings, an indicator of wage growth, also far exceeded expectations, and they were 2.5% higher than a year ago. This report revealed strength in nearly every area.
Next week, the second biggest report of the month, Retail Sales, will be released on Friday. Retail Sales account for about 70% of economic activity. Before that, the JOLTS report will be released on Thursday. JOLTS measures job openings and labor turnover rates, and this report is closely watched by Fed officials. In addition, there will be Treasury auctions on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Mortgage markets will be closed on Wednesday in observance of Veterans Day.