Tuesday’s bond market has opened in positive territory due to sizable stock losses that are helping to fuel bond buying. The Dow is currently down 144 points while the Nasdaq has lost 34 points. The bond market is currently up 11/32 (2.38%), which should improve this morning’s mortgage rates by approximately .125 – .250 of a discount point.
Today has nothing of relevance scheduled for release. We are seeing bonds react to stock weakness that came from economic concerns from overseas. The weaker than expected economic data raised concerns about the global economy and its impact on U.S. company earnings. That has caused a flight to safety shift where funds are more form stocks into bonds to avoid the volatility. An intra-day change to mortgage rates will likely be due to a noticeable move higher or lower in the major stock indexes.
Tomorrow afternoon brings us the first events of the week, starting with the first of this week’s two important Treasury auctions. The sale of 10-year Notes will be held tomorrow while 30-year Bonds will be sold Thursday. We often see some weakness in bonds ahead of the sales as the firms participating prepare for them. However, as long as the auctions are met with decent demand from investors, the firms usually buy them back. This tends to help recover any presale losses. But, if the sales are met with a lackluster interest from investors- particularly international buyers, the bond market may move lower after the results are posted and mortgage rates may move higher. Those results will be announced at 1:00 PM each sale day, so any reaction will come during early afternoon trading.
The minutes from the most recent FOMC meeting will be posted at 2:00 PM ET tomorrow afternoon. These may move the markets or could be a non-factor, depending on what they say. With little else being posted this week they will likely be a little more influential than usual. The key points traders are looking for are concerns over our and the global economies, inflation and the Fed’s next monetary policy move. If Fed members were concerned about the economy continuing to grow, we may see the bond market move higher and mortgage rates lower Wednesday afternoon. It will be interesting to see how much debate and disagreement amongst members took place during the meeting, particularly about when they will start raising key short-term interest rates. It is worth noting though that the last FOMC meeting was followed by revised economic predications and a press conference with Fed Chair Yellen. Therefore, the likelihood of seeing a significant surprise in the minutes is relatively low.