Wednesday’s bond market has opened up slightly, following suit of the major stock indexes. The Dow is currently up 13 points while the Nasdaq has gained 8 points. The bond market is currently up 2/32 (2.20%), but due to some weakness late yesterday we still should see a slight increase in this morning’s mortgage rates if comparing to Tuesday’s morning pricing.
Today’s ADP Employment report revealed an increase of 182,000 new private sector payrolls. This was close to forecasts of 180,000, so cannot be considered a surprise. The fact that this was a decline from September’s revised 190,000 is good news, but since the variance from expectations was minor, it has had little influence on this morning’s mortgage rates.
We are seeing some negative reaction to comments made by Fed Chair Janet Yellen during her testimony to the House Financial Services Committee as part of a busy week of Fed speaking engagements. The topic of her appearance was supposed to be bank regulations but her answer to a question reiterated a strong likelihood of a December rate hike. While that is not a surprise to anyone in the market, it does act as a reminder so the markets have shown some reaction. However, I don’t believe it is anything that we need to be too concerned with today.
Tomorrow has two minor pieces of economic data set for release at 8:30 AM ET. The first is last week’s unemployment figures that are expected to show 262,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week. This would be a small increase from the previous week’s 260,000 initial claims, indicating the employment sector softened slightly 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.
The 3rd Quarter Productivity reading will be the second report of the day. It is expected to show a 0.2% decline in worker productivity during the third quarter. A large increase would be good news for the bond market because higher levels of employee productivity allow the economy to expand without inflationary pressures being a concern. This is a relatively low importance report, meaning it will take a significant variance from forecasts for it to directly affect mortgage rates also.