Today's Commentary

Updated on October 17, 2017 10:49:46 AM EDT
Tuesday’s bond market has opened in negative territory following slightly stronger than expected economic data. The major stock indexes are mixed with the Dow up 27 points and the Nasdaq down 6 points. The bond market is currently down 2/32 (2.31%), which should push this morning’s mortgage rates just a tad higher than yesterday’s early pricing.

Today’s sole relevant economic release was September's Industrial Production data at 9:15 AM ET. It showed a 0.3% rise in output at U.S. factories, mines and utilities. Analysts were expecting it to show a 0.2% increase, meaning industrial production was a little stronger than thought last month. Because stronger economic activity makes bonds less appealing to investors, this report was unfavorable for mortgage rates. However, it is only a moderately important piece of data and has had a minimal impact on today’s rates.

Tomorrow has two more reports scheduled that we will be watching. The first is September's Housing Starts at 8:30 AM ET. This Commerce Department report will probably not have much of an impact on the bond market or mortgage rates. It gives us a measurement of housing sector strength and future mortgage credit demand by tracking construction starts of new homes, but is usually considered to be of low importance to the financial and mortgage markets. It is expected to show a drop in new home starts between August and September. I believe we need to see a significant surprise in this data for it to have an impact on tomorrow's mortgage rates.

The Federal Reserve will release their Beige Book report tomorrow afternoon. This report details economic conditions throughout the U.S. by Federal Reserve region. It is relied upon heavily by the Fed to determine monetary policy during their FOMC meetings. If it shows surprisingly softer economic activity since the last report, the bond market may thrive and mortgage rates could drop shortly after the 2:00 PM ET release. If it reveals signs of inflation growing or rapidly expanding economic activity in many regions, we may see mortgage rates revise higher as a result.


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