Tuesday’s bond market has opened in positive territory due to early stock selling and weaker than expected economic data. The major stock indexes are showing relatively minor losses but the 52 point drop in the Dow is enough to fall below 18,000. The Nasdaq is down 15 points. The bond market is currently up 10/32 (2.17%), which should improve this morning’s mortgage rates by approximately .125 – .250 of a discount point over yesterday’s morning pricing.
This morning’s only relevant economic data was December’s Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) from the Conference Board at 10:00 AM ET. The announced a reading of 92.6 that fell short of expectations and indicates consumers were a little less optimistic about their own financial situations than many had thought. That is good news for the bond and mortgage markets because higher levels of confidence means consumers are more likely to make a large purchase in the near future. An upward revision to November’s reading means confidence was higher that month than previously thought, but we still can consider this morning’s report as slightly favorable for mortgage rates.
Tomorrow’s only data worth watching is the release of last week’s unemployment figures at 8:30 AM ET. This report is usually posted Thursday mornings but is coming tomorrow due to the holiday Thursday. It is expected to show that 290,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week, up from 280,000 of the previous week. The higher the number of claims, the better the news it is for bonds and mortgage rates because rising initial claims is a sign of a weakening employment sector.
The bond market will close at 2:00 PM ET tomorrow ahead of the New Year’s Day holiday, but the stock markets are scheduled to be open for a full day of trading. All banks and major U.S. financial markets will be closed Thursday for the holiday and will reopen Friday morning for regular hours. As a result of the holiday schedule, we should see another round of lighter than normal trading. The thinner trading allows the indexes and bond prices to move more than they normally would with little data.