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Incline Village Home Loans and Incline Village Mortgage Loan Rates – February 27, 2014

Incline Village Home Loans, Incline Village Mortgages, Incline Village Mortgage Rates, and Incline Village Home Loan Rates:

Thursday’s bond market has opened in positive territory despite mixed economic news. The stock markets are fairly calm with the Dow up 15 points and the Nasdaq up 7 points. The bond market is currently up 6/32, which should improve this morning’s mortgage by approximately .125 of a discount point.

This morning had a fairly active schedule with two pieces of economic data and the second day of Fed Chairman Yellen’s semi-annual congressional testimony that was postponed from earlier this month. The first report was last week’s unemployment figures at 8:30 AM ET. They showed that 348,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week, up from the previous week’s revised total of 334,000 initial claims. Analysts were expecting little change in the number of first-time claims, so since the increase indicates a softening employment sector, we can consider the news favorable to the bond and mortgage markets. Unfortunately, this is only a weekly report and the morning’s second release was not so rate-friendly.

The Commerce Department said early this morning that January’s Durable Goods Orders fell 1.0% from December’s level, nearly matching forecasts of a 1.1% decline. The bad news came in a secondary reading that excludes orders for much more volatile and pricey transportation-related products such as new airplanes. That reading was predicted to show 0.3% decline but came in at up 1.1%. What this means is that if airplanes and similar products are excluded from the calculations, new orders for big-ticket products was stronger than many had thought. That is a sign of manufacturing sector strength, so we should consider the report negative for mortgage rates. However, the data is known to be quite volatile from month to month, so the markets have not had a significant reaction to the news.

Lastly, Fed Chairman Yellen is making her appearance in front of the Senate Banking Committee as day two of the Fed’s semi-annual testimony on the status of the economy and monetary policy. So far we haven’t heard anything too significant or surprising. The bond market is very close to where it was when she started at 10:00 AM ET. If we are to get something unexpected, it will come during the Q&A but I am not too concerned about this event.

As if we didn’t have enough already this morning, we also have today’s 7-year Treasury Note auction to watch. Yesterday’s 5-year Note sale went very well with most of the benchmarks we use to gauge investor demand showing high levels of interest. That helped spur bond strength yesterday afternoon and led to some lenders improving mortgage rates slightly. I suspect most lenders opted to wait for this morning’s data to reflect those gains though. If today’s 7-year Note auction draws a similar interest from investors, we could see another afternoon improvement in bond prices. Today’s securities are actually closer in term to mortgage bonds than yesterday’s, so a strong auction could help improve rates shortly after results are posted at 1:00 PM ET.

Tomorrow has two more pieces of economic data that are relevant to mortgage rates. The first is the first revision to the 4th Quarter GDP reading at 8:30 AM ET tomorrow morning. The GDP is considered the benchmark reading of economic growth or contraction because it is the total sum of all goods and services produced in the U.S. Analysts’ forecasts currently call for an annual rate of growth of 2.6%, down from the initial estimate of 3.2% that was posted last month. It will be interesting to see where this figure falls and what its impact on the markets will be. Generally speaking, higher levels of activity are bad news for the bond market, while a downward revision would be good news for bonds and could lead to improvements in mortgage pricing tomorrow.

The week’s calendar closes with the release of the University of Michigan’s revision to their Index of Consumer Sentiment for February just before 10:00 AM ET tomorrow. Current forecasts show this index rising slightly from its preliminary estimate of 81.2. This index is fairly important because it helps us measure consumer confidence that translates into consumer willingness to spend, but is not considered to be a major market mover. This means it will probably not have a significant impact on mortgage rates, especially with other important data being released tomorrow.

 

Lake Tahoe Home Loans and Lake Tahoe Mortgage Loan Rates – February 27, 2014

Lake Tahoe Home Loans, Lake Tahoe Home Loan Rates, Lake Tahoe Mortgage Loans, Lake Tahoe Mortgage Loan Rates, and Lake Tahoe Mortgage Rates:

Thursday’s bond market has opened in positive territory despite mixed economic news. The stock markets are fairly calm with the Dow up 15 points and the Nasdaq up 7 points. The bond market is currently up 6/32, which should improve this morning’s mortgage by approximately .125 of a discount point.

This morning had a fairly active schedule with two pieces of economic data and the second day of Fed Chairman Yellen’s semi-annual congressional testimony that was postponed from earlier this month. The first report was last week’s unemployment figures at 8:30 AM ET. They showed that 348,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week, up from the previous week’s revised total of 334,000 initial claims. Analysts were expecting little change in the number of first-time claims, so since the increase indicates a softening employment sector, we can consider the news favorable to the bond and mortgage markets. Unfortunately, this is only a weekly report and the morning’s second release was not so rate-friendly.

The Commerce Department said early this morning that January’s Durable Goods Orders fell 1.0% from December’s level, nearly matching forecasts of a 1.1% decline. The bad news came in a secondary reading that excludes orders for much more volatile and pricey transportation-related products such as new airplanes. That reading was predicted to show 0.3% decline but came in at up 1.1%. What this means is that if airplanes and similar products are excluded from the calculations, new orders for big-ticket products was stronger than many had thought. That is a sign of manufacturing sector strength, so we should consider the report negative for mortgage rates. However, the data is known to be quite volatile from month to month, so the markets have not had a significant reaction to the news.

Lastly, Fed Chairman Yellen is making her appearance in front of the Senate Banking Committee as day two of the Fed’s semi-annual testimony on the status of the economy and monetary policy. So far we haven’t heard anything too significant or surprising. The bond market is very close to where it was when she started at 10:00 AM ET. If we are to get something unexpected, it will come during the Q&A but I am not too concerned about this event.

As if we didn’t have enough already this morning, we also have today’s 7-year Treasury Note auction to watch. Yesterday’s 5-year Note sale went very well with most of the benchmarks we use to gauge investor demand showing high levels of interest. That helped spur bond strength yesterday afternoon and led to some lenders improving mortgage rates slightly. I suspect most lenders opted to wait for this morning’s data to reflect those gains though. If today’s 7-year Note auction draws a similar interest from investors, we could see another afternoon improvement in bond prices. Today’s securities are actually closer in term to mortgage bonds than yesterday’s, so a strong auction could help improve rates shortly after results are posted at 1:00 PM ET.

Tomorrow has two more pieces of economic data that are relevant to mortgage rates. The first is the first revision to the 4th Quarter GDP reading at 8:30 AM ET tomorrow morning. The GDP is considered the benchmark reading of economic growth or contraction because it is the total sum of all goods and services produced in the U.S. Analysts’ forecasts currently call for an annual rate of growth of 2.6%, down from the initial estimate of 3.2% that was posted last month. It will be interesting to see where this figure falls and what its impact on the markets will be. Generally speaking, higher levels of activity are bad news for the bond market, while a downward revision would be good news for bonds and could lead to improvements in mortgage pricing tomorrow.

The week’s calendar closes with the release of the University of Michigan’s revision to their Index of Consumer Sentiment for February just before 10:00 AM ET tomorrow. Current forecasts show this index rising slightly from its preliminary estimate of 81.2. This index is fairly important because it helps us measure consumer confidence that translates into consumer willingness to spend, but is not considered to be a major market mover. This means it will probably not have a significant impact on mortgage rates, especially with other important data being released tomorrow.

 

Incline Village Home Loans and Incline Village Mortgage Loans – February 26, 2014

 Incline Village Home Loans, Incline Village Home Loan Rates, Incline Village Mortgage Loans, Incline Village Mortgage Loan Rates, Incline Village Mortgage Rates:

Wednesday’s bond market has opened up slightly even though today’s only economic data showed stronger than expected results. The stock markets are showing gains also with the Dow up 53 points and the Nasdaq up 18 points. The bond market is currently up 2/32, which should improve this morning’s mortgage by approximately .125 of a discount point.

The Commerce Department announced late this morning that sales of newly constructed homes rose 9.6% last month, exceeding forecasts. Analysts were expecting to see a decline, so the data indicates the new home portion of the housing sector was stronger than thought last month. That makes the data negative for the bond market and mortgage rates, but fortunately the bond market doesn’t seem to be concerned.

Later today, the first of this week’s two relatively important Treasury auctions will be held that may influence bond trading enough to affect mortgage rates. There will be an auction of 5-year Notes today and 7-year Notes tomorrow. Neither of these sales will directly impact mortgage pricing, but they can influence general bond market sentiment. If the sales go poorly, we could see broader selling in the bond market that leads to upward revisions to mortgage rates. However, sales with higher levels of investor demand usually make bonds more attractive to investors and brings additional funds into the bond market. The buying of bonds that follows usually translates into lower mortgage rates.

We have a couple of events scheduled for tomorrow that are worth watching. The first is the weekly unemployment update from the Labor Department at 8:30 AM ET. They are expected to announce that 335,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week. This would be a slight change from the previous week’s 336,000. The higher the number of initial claims, the better the news it is for the bond and mortgage markets because rising claims indicates a softening employment sector. However, since this is a weekly report instead of a monthly or quarterly tracking period, it usually takes a wide variance from forecasts for the data to influence mortgage rates.

January’s Durable Goods Orders data will also be released at 8:30 AM ET tomorrow morning. This report gives us an important measurement of manufacturing sector strength by tracking orders at U.S. factories for items expected to last three or more years. Products such as electronics, refrigerators, airplanes and autos are examples of these big-ticket items. A larger decline than the 1.1% that is expected would be good news for the bond market and mortgage rates as it would point towards manufacturing sector weakness. This data is known to be quite volatile from month-to-month, so large swings are fairly normal. A small variance from forecasts would not cause much concern or joy in the markets.

Lastly, Fed Chairman Yellen will deliver day two of the Fed’s semi-annual testimony on the status of the economy and monetary policy late tomorrow morning. She will be speaking to the Senate Banking Committee, which was postponed from its originally scheduled date two weeks ago due to weather. Day one in front of the House Financial Services Committee was completed back then. Since the prepared statement by Chairman Yellen is expected to mirror her previous appearance, any noticeable reaction in the financial or mortgage markets will likely come as a result of a response during the Q&A portion of the proceeding. She will appear at 10:00 AM ET, so any reaction will probably come during late morning trading.

Lake Tahoe Home Loans and Lake Tahoe Mortgage Loan Rates – February 26, 2014

 Lake Tahoe Home Loans, Lake Tahoe Home Loan Rates, Lake Tahoe Mortgage Loans, Lake Tahoe Mortgage Loan Rates, and Lake Tahoe Mortgage Rates:

Wednesday’s bond market has opened up slightly even though today’s only economic data showed stronger than expected results. The stock markets are showing gains also with the Dow up 53 points and the Nasdaq up 18 points. The bond market is currently up 2/32, which should improve this morning’s mortgage by approximately .125 of a discount point.

The Commerce Department announced late this morning that sales of newly constructed homes rose 9.6% last month, exceeding forecasts. Analysts were expecting to see a decline, so the data indicates the new home portion of the housing sector was stronger than thought last month. That makes the data negative for the bond market and mortgage rates, but fortunately the bond market doesn’t seem to be concerned.

Later today, the first of this week’s two relatively important Treasury auctions will be held that may influence bond trading enough to affect mortgage rates. There will be an auction of 5-year Notes today and 7-year Notes tomorrow. Neither of these sales will directly impact mortgage pricing, but they can influence general bond market sentiment. If the sales go poorly, we could see broader selling in the bond market that leads to upward revisions to mortgage rates. However, sales with higher levels of investor demand usually make bonds more attractive to investors and brings additional funds into the bond market. The buying of bonds that follows usually translates into lower mortgage rates.

We have a couple of events scheduled for tomorrow that are worth watching. The first is the weekly unemployment update from the Labor Department at 8:30 AM ET. They are expected to announce that 335,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week. This would be a slight change from the previous week’s 336,000. The higher the number of initial claims, the better the news it is for the bond and mortgage markets because rising claims indicates a softening employment sector. However, since this is a weekly report instead of a monthly or quarterly tracking period, it usually takes a wide variance from forecasts for the data to influence mortgage rates.

January’s Durable Goods Orders data will also be released at 8:30 AM ET tomorrow morning. This report gives us an important measurement of manufacturing sector strength by tracking orders at U.S. factories for items expected to last three or more years. Products such as electronics, refrigerators, airplanes and autos are examples of these big-ticket items. A larger decline than the 1.1% that is expected would be good news for the bond market and mortgage rates as it would point towards manufacturing sector weakness. This data is known to be quite volatile from month-to-month, so large swings are fairly normal. A small variance from forecasts would not cause much concern or joy in the markets.

Lastly, Fed Chairman Yellen will deliver day two of the Fed’s semi-annual testimony on the status of the economy and monetary policy late tomorrow morning. She will be speaking to the Senate Banking Committee, which was postponed from its originally scheduled date two weeks ago due to weather. Day one in front of the House Financial Services Committee was completed back then. Since the prepared statement by Chairman Yellen is expected to mirror her previous appearance, any noticeable reaction in the financial or mortgage markets will likely come as a result of a response during the Q&A portion of the proceeding. She will appear at 10:00 AM ET, so any reaction will probably come during late morning trading.

 

Incline Village Home Loans and Incline Village Home Loan Rates – February 25, 2014

Incline Village Home Loans, Incline Village Mortgages, Incline Village Mortgage Rates, and Incline Village Home Loan Rates:

Tuesday’s bond market has opened in positive territory due to weaker than expected economic data. The stock markets are fairly flat with the Dow down 10 points and the Nazdaq nearly unchanged from yesterday’s close. The bond market is currently up 12/32, which should improve this morning’s mortgage by approximately .250 of a discount point.

The Conference Board announced late this morning that their Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for February stood at 78.1. This was lower than the 80.8 that was expected, but partially offsetting that news was a downward revision to January’s reading. What was initially an 80.7 reading for January was changed to 79.4. So while we did see a decline, indicating consumers were less comfortable with their own financial situations than thought, it was by a smaller margin from last month than what appears. Still, the data is favorable for the bond market and mortgage rates as it points towards softer consumer spending levels.

Tomorrow has only January’s New Home Sales report scheduled on the economic calendar. It will be posted at 10:00 AM ET and is the least important report of the week. It is considered to be the sister report to last week’s Existing Home Sales data, also measuring housing sector strength. However, because new home sales make up a much smaller portion of the overall housing sector than resales, this report usually does not have a significant impact on bond trading or mortgage rates unless it shows a significant surprise. January’s sales are expected to have declined, hinting at weakness in the new home portion of the housing sector. Ideally, the bond market would prefer to see noticeable housing sector weakness because it makes broader economic growth more difficult and bonds tend to thrive during weaker economic conditions.

Also tomorrow is the first of two relatively important Treasury auctions that may also influence bond trading enough to affect mortgage rates. There will be an auction of 5-year Notes tomorrow and 7-year Notes on Thursday. Neither of these sales will directly impact mortgage pricing, but they can influence general bond market sentiment. If the sales go poorly, we could see broader selling in the bond market that leads to upward revisions to mortgage rates. However, sales with higher levels of investor demand usually make bonds more attractive to investors and brings additional funds into the bond market. The buying of bonds that follows usually translates into lower mortgage rates.

 

Lake Tahoe Home Loans and Lake Tahoe Mortgage Loan Rates – February 25, 2014

Lake Tahoe Home Loans, Lake Tahoe Home Loan Rates, Lake Tahoe Mortgage Loans, Lake Tahoe Mortgage Loan Rates, and Lake Tahoe Mortgage Rates:

Tuesday’s bond market has opened in positive territory due to weaker than expected economic data. The stock markets are fairly flat with the Dow down 10 points and the Nazdaq nearly unchanged from yesterday’s close. The bond market is currently up 12/32, which should improve this morning’s mortgage by approximately .250 of a discount point.

The Conference Board announced late this morning that their Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for February stood at 78.1. This was lower than the 80.8 that was expected, but partially offsetting that news was a downward revision to January’s reading. What was initially an 80.7 reading for January was changed to 79.4. So while we did see a decline, indicating consumers were less comfortable with their own financial situations than thought, it was by a smaller margin from last month than what appears. Still, the data is favorable for the bond market and mortgage rates as it points towards softer consumer spending levels.

Tomorrow has only January’s New Home Sales report scheduled on the economic calendar. It will be posted at 10:00 AM ET and is the least important report of the week. It is considered to be the sister report to last week’s Existing Home Sales data, also measuring housing sector strength. However, because new home sales make up a much smaller portion of the overall housing sector than resales, this report usually does not have a significant impact on bond trading or mortgage rates unless it shows a significant surprise. January’s sales are expected to have declined, hinting at weakness in the new home portion of the housing sector. Ideally, the bond market would prefer to see noticeable housing sector weakness because it makes broader economic growth more difficult and bonds tend to thrive during weaker economic conditions.

Also tomorrow is the first of two relatively important Treasury auctions that may also influence bond trading enough to affect mortgage rates. There will be an auction of 5-year Notes tomorrow and 7-year Notes on Thursday. Neither of these sales will directly impact mortgage pricing, but they can influence general bond market sentiment. If the sales go poorly, we could see broader selling in the bond market that leads to upward revisions to mortgage rates. However, sales with higher levels of investor demand usually make bonds more attractive to investors and brings additional funds into the bond market. The buying of bonds that follows usually translates into lower mortgage rates.

 

Incline Village Home Loans and Incline Village Mortgage Loan Rates – February 24, 2014

Incline Village Home Loans, Incline Village Mortgages, Incline Village Mortgage Rates, and Incline Village Home Loan Rates:

Monday’s bond market has opened down slightly due mostly to a strong start for stocks. The stock markets are kicking the week off with sizable gains, pushing the Dow up 140 points and the Nasdaq up 39 points. The bond market is currently down 3/32, but we may still see a slight improvement in this morning’s mortgage rates because of strength in bonds late Friday.

There is no relevant economic data being posted today, so the flat open in bonds comes as no surprise. Look for stocks to be the cause of an intra-day revision to mortgage rates. If the major stock indexes remain near current levels, we should see bond prices and mortgage rates follow suit. On the other hand, a noticeable move upward could pressure bonds and lead to an afternoon increase in rates. If stocks go into selling mode, bonds and mortgage rates are more likely to improve later today.

The rest of the week brings us the release of five economic reports to be concerned with in addition to testimony from Fed Chairman Yellen and two potentially relevant Treasury auctions. None of the reports can be considered key or highly important to the markets, but a couple of them certainly carry enough significance to affect mortgage pricing. We will probably see the market get more active as the week progresses.

The first of this week’s data is February’s Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) at 10:00 AM ET tomorrow morning. This Conference Board index measures consumer confidence in their personal financial situations, giving us a measurement of consumer willingness to spend. If consumers are feeling good about their own financial and employment situations, they are more apt to make large purchases in the near future. Since consumer spending makes up over two-thirds of the economy, related data is considered important in terms of gauging economic activity. It is expected to show little change in confidence from the 80.7 reading in January to 80.8 this month. A lower reading would be considered good news for bonds and mortgage rates since it would indicate consumers are less likely to make a large purchase in the near future.

Overall, Thursday is the best candidate for most active day of the week in terms of mortgage rate movement with the Durable Goods report, Chairman Yellen’s congressional appearance and a Treasury auction taking place. I suspect it will be a fairly active week for mortgage rates with something relevant scheduled for each day except today. However, I am not expecting a significantly volatile week unless something unexpected happens.

Lake Tahoe Home Loans and Lake Tahoe Mortgage Loans – February 24, 2014

Lake Tahoe Home Loans, Lake Tahoe Home Loan Rates, Lake Tahoe Mortgage Loans, Lake Tahoe Mortgage Loan Rates, and Lake Tahoe Mortgage Rates:

Monday’s bond market has opened down slightly due mostly to a strong start for stocks. The stock markets are kicking the week off with sizable gains, pushing the Dow up 140 points and the Nasdaq up 39 points. The bond market is currently down 3/32, but we may still see a slight improvement in this morning’s mortgage rates because of strength in bonds late Friday.

There is no relevant economic data being posted today, so the flat open in bonds comes as no surprise. Look for stocks to be the cause of an intra-day revision to mortgage rates. If the major stock indexes remain near current levels, we should see bond prices and mortgage rates follow suit. On the other hand, a noticeable move upward could pressure bonds and lead to an afternoon increase in rates. If stocks go into selling mode, bonds and mortgage rates are more likely to improve later today.

The rest of the week brings us the release of five economic reports to be concerned with in addition to testimony from Fed Chairman Yellen and two potentially relevant Treasury auctions. None of the reports can be considered key or highly important to the markets, but a couple of them certainly carry enough significance to affect mortgage pricing. We will probably see the market get more active as the week progresses.

The first of this week’s data is February’s Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) at 10:00 AM ET tomorrow morning. This Conference Board index measures consumer confidence in their personal financial situations, giving us a measurement of consumer willingness to spend. If consumers are feeling good about their own financial and employment situations, they are more apt to make large purchases in the near future. Since consumer spending makes up over two-thirds of the economy, related data is considered important in terms of gauging economic activity. It is expected to show little change in confidence from the 80.7 reading in January to 80.8 this month. A lower reading would be considered good news for bonds and mortgage rates since it would indicate consumers are less likely to make a large purchase in the near future.

Overall, Thursday is the best candidate for most active day of the week in terms of mortgage rate movement with the Durable Goods report, Chairman Yellen’s congressional appearance and a Treasury auction taking place. I suspect it will be a fairly active week for mortgage rates with something relevant scheduled for each day except today. However, I am not expecting a significantly volatile week unless something unexpected happens.

Lake Tahoe Home Loans and Lake Tahoe Mortgage Loan Rates – February 20, 2014

Lake Tahoe Home Loans, Lake Tahoe Home Loan Rates, Lake Tahoe Mortgage Loans, Lake Tahoe Mortgage Loan Rates, Lake Tahoe Mortgage Rates:

Thursday’s bond market has opened in negative territory, extending yesterday’s afternoon selling. The stock markets are showing modest gains with the Dow up 29 points and the Nasdaq up 6 points. The bond market is currently down 7/32, which with yesterday’s afternoon weakness should push this morning’s mortgage rates higher by approximately .250 – .375 of a discount point over Wednesday’s morning pricing.

Yesterday’s afternoon weakness in bonds was mostly a result of the FOMC minutes that were posted at 2:00 PM. The minutes did give us some clearer insight into the Fed’s thought process on a couple issues. One was consideration of an announcement that their monthly rate of bond buying would be reduced by $10 billion at each FOMC meeting rather than leaving the markets to assume or guess. There was also some discussion that led many to believe an increase in key short-term interest rates may be coming sooner than many analysts were previously expecting. Overall, most of the tidbits taken from the minutes were not favorable to the bond market. That led to selling in bonds and caused many lenders to revise rates higher late yesterday.

This morning’s first of three economic reports showed that 336,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week. This was a slight decline from the previous week’s unrevised total of 339,000 and just above forecasts of 335,000 initial claims. This was not enough of a move in this weekly report to draw much attention in the markets. We should consider it neutral for the bond market and mortgage rates.

The second report of the day was much more important to the markets, particularly bonds but also didn’t reveal much of a surprise. The Labor Department announced at 8:30 AM ET that January’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.1% and that the more important core reading that excludes more volatile food and energy prices also rose 0.1%. The overall reading was expected to come in at up 0.2% and the core reading pegged forecasts. The results were neutral to slightly positive for bonds and rates. Accordingly, this data also failed to move the markets this morning or affect mortgage pricing.

January’s Leading Economic Indicators (LEI)was the final report of the morning. At 10:00 AM ET, the Conference Board announced that their LEI rose 0.3% last month. This was slightly weaker than the 0.4% that was expected, making it somewhat good news for the bond market. However, this is a minor report with a slight variance from forecasts, so we have seen little reaction to the news.

The final report of the week is January’s Existing Home Sales report at 10:00 AM ET tomorrow. The National Association of Realtors tracks home resales throughout the country, giving us a measurement of housing sector strength. It is expected to show a decline in sales of existing homes, meaning the housing sector softened last month. Ideally, the bond market would like to see a sizable decline in sales because weak housing makes broader economic growth more difficult. Since long-term securities such as mortgage bonds tend to thrive during weaker economic conditions, weak housing numbers would be good news for mortgage rates.

 

Incline Village Home Loans and Incline Village Mortgage Loan Rates – February 20, 2014

Incline Village Home Loans, Incline Village Mortgages, Incline Village Mortgage Rates, and Incline Village Home Loan Rates:

Thursday’s bond market has opened in negative territory, extending yesterday’s afternoon selling. The stock markets are showing modest gains with the Dow up 29 points and the Nasdaq up 6 points. The bond market is currently down 7/32, which with yesterday’s afternoon weakness should push this morning’s mortgage rates higher by approximately .250 – .375 of a discount point over Wednesday’s morning pricing.

Yesterday’s afternoon weakness in bonds was mostly a result of the FOMC minutes that were posted at 2:00 PM. The minutes did give us some clearer insight into the Fed’s thought process on a couple issues. One was consideration of an announcement that their monthly rate of bond buying would be reduced by $10 billion at each FOMC meeting rather than leaving the markets to assume or guess. There was also some discussion that led many to believe an increase in key short-term interest rates may be coming sooner than many analysts were previously expecting. Overall, most of the tidbits taken from the minutes were not favorable to the bond market. That led to selling in bonds and caused many lenders to revise rates higher late yesterday.

This morning’s first of three economic reports showed that 336,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week. This was a slight decline from the previous week’s unrevised total of 339,000 and just above forecasts of 335,000 initial claims. This was not enough of a move in this weekly report to draw much attention in the markets. We should consider it neutral for the bond market and mortgage rates.

The second report of the day was much more important to the markets, particularly bonds but also didn’t reveal much of a surprise. The Labor Department announced at 8:30 AM ET that January’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.1% and that the more important core reading that excludes more volatile food and energy prices also rose 0.1%. The overall reading was expected to come in at up 0.2% and the core reading pegged forecasts. The results were neutral to slightly positive for bonds and rates. Accordingly, this data also failed to move the markets this morning or affect mortgage pricing.

January’s Leading Economic Indicators (LEI)was the final report of the morning. At 10:00 AM ET, the Conference Board announced that their LEI rose 0.3% last month. This was slightly weaker than the 0.4% that was expected, making it somewhat good news for the bond market. However, this is a minor report with a slight variance from forecasts, so we have seen little reaction to the news.

The final report of the week is January’s Existing Home Sales report at 10:00 AM ET tomorrow. The National Association of Realtors tracks home resales throughout the country, giving us a measurement of housing sector strength. It is expected to show a decline in sales of existing homes, meaning the housing sector softened last month. Ideally, the bond market would like to see a sizable decline in sales because weak housing makes broader economic growth more difficult. Since long-term securities such as mortgage bonds tend to thrive during weaker economic conditions, weak housing numbers would be good news for mortgage rates.