Thursday’s bond market initially opened well in positive territory but has since given back a good portion of those gains. The stock markets are mixed with the Dow up 64 points and the Nasdaq down 8 points. The bond market is currently up 4/32 (1.90%), which should help improve mortgage rates again. Just how much of an improvement depends on how much a revision your lender made yesterday afternoon. Overall, we should see this morning’s mortgage rates to be approximately .375 of a discount point lower than yesterday’s morning pricing.
The first of this morning’s two minor economic reports was last week’s unemployment figures at 8:30 AM ET. This release showed that 265,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were field last week, up from the revised total of 258,000 of the previous week. This indicates the employment sector weakened last week, making the data favorable for bonds and mortgage rates. However, this is only a weekly snapshot, so its impact on today’s trading has been fairly minimal.
Late this morning, February’s Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) were released. The Conference Board announced a 0.1% increase in the indicators, falling just short of the 0.2% that was expected. The minimal increase indicates that they are predicting modest growth in economic activity over the next several months. The reading is technically good news for bonds, but since it is only a minor release with a small variance from forecasts, it has not affected today’s mortgage rates.
Tomorrow has a single piece of economic data that is likely to influence mortgage pricing. That would be the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment for March just before 10:00 AM ET. This index gives us a measurement of consumer willingness to spend. If consumers are more confident in their own financial and employment situations, then they are more apt to make large purchases in the near future. This helps fuel consumer spending levels and economic growth. A drop in confidence will probably hurt the stock markets and boost bond prices, leading to lower mortgage rates. Bad news for bonds and mortgage rates would be rapidly rising confidence. It is expected to show a reading of 92.2 which would be an increase from February’s final reading 91.7.