Wednesday’s bond market has opened in negative territory, giving back yesterday’s afternoon rally. The stock markets are mixed with the Dow down 12 points and the Nasdaq up 16 points. The bond market is currently down 11/32 (2.18%), but due to strength late yesterday we should see only a minor increase in this morning’s rates if comparing to yesterday’s early pricing. If your lender did revise rates lower intraday yesterday, you should see an increase in today’s rates by nearly the same amount.
The first of today’s three relevant reports was ADP’s November Employment report at 8:15 AM ET. It showed that 217,000 private-sector jobs were added during the month, exceeding forecasts of 185,000. Since that indicates a stronger than expected employment sector, we should consider the data negative for bonds and mortgage rates. After yesterday’s favorable ISM index that had some analysts questioning whether a Fed rate hike would actually come later this month, today’s news has reversed that thought process. Some rely on this report to predict the monthly government report that comes Friday, meaning they are now expecting Friday’s big report to exceed forecasts also. I don’t think using this release is a reliable way to predict Friday’s results. Still, the news is negatively affecting bond prices and mortgage rates this morning.
Also early this morning were the revised 3rd Quarter Productivity numbers that showed a 2.2% annual rate of productivity growth. While it was an increase from the preliminary estimate of 1.6%, since it pegged forecasts it has had no impact on this morning’s mortgage pricing.
At 2:00 PM ET today, the Federal Reserve will release their Beige Book. This report details economic conditions by Fed region. That information is relied upon heavily during the FOMC meetings when determining monetary policy, so its results can influence bond trading and mortgage rates if it shows any noticeable changes from the last update. More times than not though, this report will not influence the markets enough to cause intra-day changes to mortgage rates, but the potential to do so does exist.
Tomorrow has two reports scheduled along with an appearance by Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Last week’s unemployment numbers at 8:30 AM ET are expected to show that 267,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week. This would be an increase from the previous week’s 260,000 initial claims, indicating the employment sector softened last week. Since rising claims hints at a weakening employment sector, the larger the number the better the news it is for mortgage rates. Although, it is worth noting that because this is only a weekly snapshot, it usually takes a surprise increase or decline for the report to noticeably affect rates.
October’s Factory Orders report will be posted at 10:00 AM ET tomorrow. This Commerce Department report is similar to the Durable Goods Orders data that was released last week, except this one includes manufacturing orders for both durable and non-durable goods. This data usually doesn’t have a significant influence on bond trading. Analysts are expecting to see a 1.1% increase in new orders. The weaker the number, the better the news for bond prices and mortgage rates because it would signal softer than expected manufacturing sector activity.
Fed Chair Yellen speaks before a Joint Congressional Economic Committee at 10:00 AM ET that has a decent chance of causing volatility in the markets. Market participants will be watching her words very closely.