Thursday’s bond market has opened relatively flat despite stronger than expected results in this morning’s economic reports. The stock markets are mixed with the Dow down 22 points and the Nasdaq up 15 points. The bond market is currently unchanged from yesterday’s close (2.33%), which should keep this morning’s mortgage rates at Wednesday’s levels.
The first of this morning’s two reports showed that 255,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week. This was well below forecasts of 279,000 initial claims and the lowest number since November 1973, indicating strength in the employment sector. That makes the data bad news for bonds and mortgage rates, but fortunately this is only a weekly snapshot and does not have nearly the impact on the markets that the big monthly Employment report does.
June’s Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) was also released this morning, coming at 10:00 AM ET. It showed an increase of 0.6% that exceeded expectations of a 0.2% rise. Because this index attempts to predict economic activity over the next several months, the increase is not good news for bonds and mortgage shoppers. However, this report also is considered to be of low importance so has not had much of an influence on today’s mortgage pricing.
The week closes tomorrow with another minor piece of data. June’s New Home Sales report will be released at 10:00 AM ET by the Commerce Department. It gives us another measurement of housing sector strength. Analysts are expecting it to show an increase in sales of newly constructed homes, indicating that the new home portion of the housing sector strengthened a little last month. That would be considered negative news for bonds, but since this data tracks only a small percentage of all home sales it usually has little impact on the bond market and mortgage rates unless it varies greatly from forecasts. Yesterday’s Existing Home Sales report covers most of the home sales in the U.S.