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Mortgage Market in Review – March 28, 2016

Market Comment

Mortgage bond prices finished the week lower which put upward pressure on rates.  Rates were higher early in the week despite mixed housing data.  Existing home sales printed at 5.08M versus the expected 5.37M.  The FHFA Housing Price Index rose 6% on an annual basis.  That data showed an upward trajectory in housing prices, rising above the December data.  New home sales printed at 512K which was as expected.    There was some flight to quality buying of mortgage bonds in response to the attacks in Belgium which counted some of the earlier selling pressure.  The market closed early Thursday ahead of the Good Friday holiday.  Mortgage interest rates finished the week worse by approximately 1/8 of a discount point.


LOOKING AHEAD

Economic
Indicator
Release
Date & Time
Consensus
Estimate

Analysis
Personal Income and Outlays Monday, March 28,
8:30 am, et
Up 0.3%,
Up 0.4%
Important.  A measure of consumers’ ability to spend.  Weakness may lead to lower mortgage rates.
PCE Core Inflation Monday, March 28,
8:30 am, et
Up 0.2% Important.  A measure of price increases for all domestic personal consumption.  Weaker figure may help rates improve.
Consumer Confidence Tuesday, March 29,
10:00 am, et
92 Important.  An indication of consumers’ willingness to spend.  Weakness may lead to lower mortgage rates.
ADP Employment Wednesday, March 30,
8:30 am, et
218K Important.  An indication of employment.  Weakness may bring lower rates.
Weekly Jobless Claims Thursday, March 31,
8:30 am, et
398K Important.  An indication of employment.   Higher claims may result in lower rates.
Employment Friday, April 1,
8:30 am, et
4.9%,
Payrolls +228K
Very important.  An increase in unemployment or weakness in payrolls may bring lower rates.
ISM Index Friday, April 1,
10:00 am, et
51.2 Important.  A measure of manufacturer sentiment.  Weakness may lead to lower mortgage rates.
U of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Friday, April 1,
10:00 am, et
89.9 Important.  An indication of consumers’ willingness to spend.  Weakness may lead to lower mortgage rates.

Employment

The employment report provides an abundance of information for many sectors of the economy and is probably the most important piece of data released each month. Not only does the release give basic employment payroll statistics for the major working sectors, it also provides the average hourly earnings and the average workweek.  Economists use this information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor to estimate many other economic indicators such as industrial production, personal income, housing starts, and GDP monthly revisions. Since there is little data for economists to base their estimates on, the margin of error for the estimates tends to be high. As a result, the employment report can cause substantial market movements.  The BLS compiles data from two unrelated surveys that they conduct, the household survey and the establishment survey, in order to complete the report.  This explains why there is sometimes a divergence between the unemployment rate and payrolls figure.  Be alert heading into the release.


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