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|For the week of Nov 24, 2008 --- Vol. 6, Issue 48|
|Last Week in Review|
"THE IMPORTANT THING IN THIS WORLD IS NOT SO MUCH WHERE WE STAND, AS IN WHAT DIRECTION WE ARE MOVING." Oliver Wendell Holmes. And when it comes to the direction our economy may be moving, there was some surprising news from the Fed last week that the "Minutes" from their October meeting revealed.
After years of being concerned about inflation, the Fed is now concerned about deflation. So what exactly is deflation? Deflation is when prices drop, which generally is due to lack of demand, and therefore lack of pricing power. With the economy slowing down, we are hearing economists forecast that we may be in for a deflationary recession. In a deflationary environment, investors flee into fixed instruments like Bonds, because the fixed payment received would actually buy them more goods and services over time as prices decline.
So what does this mean for home loan rates? Remember, home loan rates improve as Bond pricing moves higher - and more demand for Bonds would mean higher prices for Bonds. In the spring of 2003, when Alan Greenspan uttered the "D" word, deflation, Bonds rallied 400bp in just a few weeks, bringing a significant drop in home loan rates. Of course, the economy is different right now, but as more money may be headed towards Bonds in a deflationary environment, we could again see a significant improvement in home loan rates down the road.
On the inflation front, last week's Producer Price Index indicated that wholesale inflation plummeted last month - by the most since records began in 1947 - largely due to declines in energy prices. In addition, the Consumer Price Index showed that inflation at the consumer level fell by a record 1.0%, thanks again to lower costs of energy.
When it comes to the direction the economy is heading, the week did end with some hopeful news. Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker said that an economic recovery could begin in 2009 as low interest rates, low energy prices, and less drag from the housing sector may shore up spending. In the meantime, Bonds and home loan rates spent much of last week trading near a key level of technical support called the 200-Day Moving Average, finally moving and staying above this level on Friday. As a result, Bonds and home loan rates ended the week unchanged to slightly better than where they began.
WHEN IT COMES TO CREDIT SCORES, IT'S MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER TO DO ALL YOU CAN TO KEEP YOUR SCORE MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION! CHECK OUT THIS WEEK'S MORTGAGE MARKET VIEW FOR HOLIDAY SHOPPING TIPS THAT WILL HELP KEEP YOUR CREDIT SCORE ON THE UP AND UP.
|Forecast for the Week|
It will be a holiday shortened week in the markets as Thanksgiving is celebrated, but there are several important reports that could determine which direction Bonds and home loan rates move. On Tuesday, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Report will be released, and on Wednesday we will get the details on the Fed's favorite gauge of inflation, the Core Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) data, from the Personal Income report. Given the Fed's recent talk of deflation, it will be important to see what these reports reveal.
Also on Wednesday, we'll get a read on consumer and business consumption and buying behavior from the Durable Goods Report. Durable goods are items that are non-disposable, like cars, furniture, appliances, games, cameras, business equipment, etc. In addition, we'll get a read on the housing market with Monday's Existing Home Sales Report and Wednesday's New Home Sales Report.
Stocks hit some important technical support last week, and bounced higher on Friday, with the rally being boosted by the appointment of incoming Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner. Some follow through to the upside in Stocks could pull money out of Bonds and cause some short term worsening of home loan rates...but if deflation starts grabbing more headlines, smart money will be headed towards Bonds, which will help home loan rates improve.
Keep an eye out for words from SEC Chairman Chris Cox, who must comment on some potential easing to "mark-to-market" accounting before January 2nd. If there is indeed some easing in mark-to-market accounting - which accelerated the financial crisis - it could set off a significant...perhaps very significant...rally in Stocks, which may temporarily hurt Bonds and home loan rates.
The Bond market will be closed on Thursday in honor of Thanksgiving, and will also be closing early at 2:00pm ET on both Wednesday and Friday. I wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving!Chart: Fannie Mae 6.0% Mortgage Bond (Friday Nov 21, 2008)
|The Mortgage Market View...|
|The Week's Economic Indicator Calendar|
|Remember, as a general rule, weaker than expected economic data is good for rates, while positive data causes rates to rise.
Economic Calendar for the Week of November 24 - November 28