Today's Commentary

Updated on January 23, 2019 10:27:12 AM EST
Wednesday’s bond market has opened in negative territory with stocks in rally mode and little else to drive trading. The major stock indexes are showing fairly strong gains during early trading, pushing the Dow higher by 160 points and the Nasdaq up 33 points. The bond market is currently down 5/32 (2.75%), which should cause this morning’s mortgage rates to be slightly higher than Tuesday’s morning pricing.

There is nothing of importance being released today that is expected to affect mortgage rates. If we see movement in rates intraday, it likely will be a result of a swing in stocks. If the major stock indexes extend their early gains, we could see pressure in bonds lead to an upward revision to mortgage rates this afternoon. But if they lose steam and retreat from their current levels, bonds should improve a little, possibly causing an improvement in mortgage pricing.

Tomorrow has two minor pieces of economic data set for release. First will be last week’s unemployment figures at 8:30 AM ET. They are expected to show that 217,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week, up from the 213,000 of the previous week. Rising claims is a sign that the employment sector may be weakening, so the higher the number, the better the news it is for mortgage rates. However, this is only a weekly snapshot. That means we need to see a sizable variance from forecasts for the news to directly impact rates.

December's Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) will be released at 10:00 AM ET tomorrow. The Conference Board, who is a New York-based business research group, compiles the data and releases this report. It attempts to predict economic activity over the next several months, but since it is posted by a non-governmental agency, it is not considered to be of high importance to the financial and mortgage markets. Tomorrow’s release is expected to show a 0.1% decline, meaning the indicators are predicting little growth in economic activity over the next several months. As long as we don't see a much stronger than predicted increase, I don't think this data will have much of an influence on mortgage pricing.


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