Friday morning saw U.S. Bonds rally on both a lower than expected May Consumer Sentiment Report (88.6 vs. 96.0), and May Empire Manufacturing Index (3.1 vs. 4.5 expected). The rally in bonds this morning is a welcomed relief and comes after another tough week for bonds which saw the 10-year Treasury reach 2.29% mid-week escalating sentiment that the super low rate environment could be in jeopardy.
Globally, the European Central Bank reassured markets that the ECB’s asset purchase program will continue until inflation reaches 2%. These “dovish” comments aided in Friday’s morning bond rally in the U.S.(remember the world is so interconnected today).
On the housing front, online real estate firm Redfin reported Thursday that home sales across the market rose at a rate of 5.40% from April 2014 to April 2015. This is a positive sign for real estate brokers and mortgage originators.
Due to continued volatility, we recommend cautiously floating interest rates with a biased toward locking.
Bond markets globally continue to trade with volatility as evidenced by the German Bunds 10 year debt rising the past 6 trading days at a faster pace than any time in its modern history (with German bond rates so low a small rise in yield means a lot).
Back in the U.S., all eyes were on the U.S. jobs report this week. And the job report offered a little something for everyone. The unemployment rate fell to 5.4% from 5.50% and the Labor force Participation Rate came in at 62.80% which is still near lows seen back in the 1970’s. Wage growth continues to remain stagnant.
The overall feeling from the Jobs Report is that the Fed will not “lift off” on interest rates in June so U.S. bonds responded favorably to the report. The report also shot stocks up with the major U.S. Stock indexes all trading up over 1% higher Friday morning.
With the U.S. 10 year trading favorably after Friday’s job report, we are biased toward floating with the market.
Both U.S. bond and stock markets remain volatile with the ten year treasury hovering around 2.11% above the psychological 2% mark.
On Wednesday morning, The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers came in well below expectations (.2% versus the 2.2% recorded in 2014). GDP is an important economic indicator as it measures the value of the production of goods and services in the U.S., adjusted for price changes.
While the GDP numbers were soft, Friday morning Consumer Sentiment came in red hot recording the 2nd highest reading in more than eight years. U.S. Bond yields traded higher on this strong number.
From a global perspective, U.S. bonds are also affected by what happens in other parts of the world. With the rise in Euro and German yields from ultra-low levels , U.S. bonds continue sell off increasing yields on bonds and mortgages. Therefore, we are biased toward locking in interest rates.
U.S. bonds ended the week with a mild rally based on a weak Durable Orders report. U.S. Stock markets continue to remain at, or above, all-time highs on strong earnings from tech behemoths Google, Amazon and Microsoft. On the housing front, Thursday’s housing report saw U.S. single family sales in March record their biggest drop in more than 1½ years, snapping three months of gains.
The 10 year U.S. Treasury continues to trade under 2% percent. Mortgage rates for both ARM and fixed rate mortgage remain very attractive.
Thursday was a big day for economic news with reporting on Jobless claims (a bit higher than expected), Housing Starts (less than expected) and the Philly Fed (better than expected). In the end, all of this news did little to move bonds in the US. This morning the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for March rose by .2% inline with estimates, while the Core CPI rose a smidgen above expectations. US interest rates continue to hover near all-time lows with the 10 year treasury hovering around 1.90%.
At the moment, we are cautiously floating rates with a bias towards locking in.
US mortgage and treasury interest rates remain range bound with the 10 year yielding around 1.900%. However, the bond market remains volatile with the highly uncertain times for the global financial markets continuing to be front page news.
Big ticket economic reports this week include ISM Service Index, Producer Price Index, Consumer Price Index. Furthermore, the Federal released the beige books with the Fed members torn on whether or not to raise short interest rates in June. Short term interest rates remain pegged at near zero since December 2008 in an effort to promote economic growth.
As ranked by the Scotsman Guide, Insignia Mortgage principals Chris Furie and Damon Germanides are among the top of all mortgage originators in the U.S. for 2014. Chris is ranked #6 in the country with over $190 million in loans. Damon is ranked #32 with over $129 million.
Mortgage bond interest rates remain range bound this week with a small downward bias due to weaker than expected economic data from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) index and ADP. The ISM reported that manufacturing activity in the US fell to its slowest pace since May 2013 Furthermore, the US stock market has not had a good week which has also helped to lower bond yields. The back half of the week is filled with many economic reports with all a focus on Initial jobless Claims, Non-farm Payroll and the Unemployment Report . Rate trend remains sideways.
Investors were focused almost exclusively on the Fed meeting this week. Shifting expectations about future Fed policy guidance caused a good deal of volatility during the week. The Fed statement contained no major changes, however, and mortgage rates ended the week with little change.
Mortgage Rates: Trending Sideways
Inflation Drives Rates
Inflation concerns were the main influence on mortgage rates last week. A surprising jump in CPI caused mortgage rates to rise on Tuesday. The Fed downplayed the threat of high inflation last Wednesday, however, causing mortgage rates to decline. The net result was that mortgage rates finished the week a little lower.
The May Consumer Price Index (CPI), one of the most widely watched inflation indicators, was 2.1% higher than one year ago. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, was 2.0% higher, up from an annual rate of 1.6% just two months ago. Core CPI has now reached the Fed’s stated target level for core inflation of 2.0%. Another inflation indicator released last week, the Prices Paid component of the Philly Fed report, also showed a sharp increase. Since expectations for future inflation are a primary factor in setting mortgage rates, this data was unfavorable for rates.Read More