Monday’s bond market has opened in positive territory due to early stock weakness. The stock markets are in selling mode during morning trading due mostly to concerns about overseas financial issues. The Dow is currently down 209 points while the Nasdaq has lost 32 points. The bond market is currently up 23/32, which will likely improve this morning’s mortgage rates by approximately .250 – .375 of a discount point.
There is no relevant economic data scheduled for release today. As expected, the bond market is being influenced by stock movement. With the major stock indexes posting sizable losses, bonds are benefiting as investors seek safe-haven from the volatility. If stocks extend this morning’s losses, we could see further improvements to mortgage rates this afternoon.
The rest of the week brings us the release of only three monthly reports that are relevant to mortgage rates in addition to another FOMC meeting. The first is August’s Housing Starts early tomorrow morning. This report will probably not have much of an impact on the bond market or mortgage rates. It gives us a measurement of housing sector strength and mortgage credit demand by tracking construction starts of new homes, but is usually considered to be of low importance to the financial and mortgage markets. It is expected to show a decline in new home starts between July and August. I believe we need to see a significant surprise in this data for it to have a noticeable impact on mortgage rates tomorrow.
This week’s FOMC meeting begins tomorrow and is a two-day meeting. Mr. Bernanke and friends will adjourn at 2:15 PM ET Wednesday. There is no chance of seeing any type of change to key short-term interest rates. However, the post-meeting statement could very well lead to volatility during afternoon trading as investors dissect it in an effort to find when the Fed’s next move may come. Market participants are anxiously waiting to hear what the Fed has in mind to help stimulate economic activity. Many feel that there isn’t much that they can do at this point to quickly boost economic growth. This was originally scheduled to be a single day meeting, but was extended to a two-day meeting to allow more time for them to discuss their options. Needless to say, it will be an interesting afternoon Wednesday when the post-meeting statement is read.
Overall, there really isn’t a specific report that stands out as the most important of the week. The most important day is Wednesday with the Existing Home Sales report and the FOMC meeting, but I don’t believe any of this week’s economic data has the potential to move the markets or mortgage rates heavily. However, we still may see some changes in rates day-to-day, especially if the stock markets show more volatility. If still floating an interest rate, continued contact with your mortgage professional is recommended, especially the middle part of the week.