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Thursday’s bond market has opened in negative territory with no significant economic data set for release and the only minor data showing unfavorable results. The stock markets are calm with the Dow down 14 points and the Nasdaq nearly unchanged from yesterday’s close. The bond market is currently down 9/32 (2.67%), which should push this morning’s mortgage rates higher by approximately .125 of a discount point.
Yesterday afternoon’s release of the Fed Beige Book report didn’t reveal any significant surprises since the last update. Economic growth was modest to moderate in most Fed regions. Consumer spending that drives economic growth rose in most regions also, but the increase is being attributed to inclement weather during the period the last report covered. In other words, the data doesn’t mean consumers spent more than expected, just more than during the winter storms. This was an uneventful report for the most part that had little impact on mortgage rates late yesterday.
Last week’s unemployment update was today’s only relevant economic data. It revealed that 304,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week, up slightly from the previous week’s revised total of 302,000. Since analysts were expecting to see a larger increase and last week’s claims are still near their lowest levels since the fall of 2007, we should consider the data slightly negative for the bond market and mortgage rates. Fortunately this is only a weekly snapshot and its impact on this morning’s trading has been fairly minimal.
The bond market is expected to close at 2:00 PM ET today ahead of tomorrow’s Good Friday holiday. Stocks will be open for a full day of trading today. All markets will be closed Friday for the holiday and will reopen Monday morning for regular hours.