What time is it? It’s Mortgage Time.

Mortgage Market News for the week of Feb. 7, 2014
Compliments of:


Patrick Gardner
Mortgage Loan Officer
NMLS ID: 378888
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This week’s key economic data showed that the performance of the economy in January was weaker than expected. The shortfalls caused stocks to decline and mortgage rates to improve, but the impact was surprisingly small.

Both the Employment report and the ISM Manufacturing data saw big misses. Against a consensus forecast of 185K, the economy added just 113K jobs in January. Also disappointing, many investors had hoped to see a large upward revision to the weak December reading, but it was little changed. The ISM national manufacturing index declined sharply to 51.3, far below the consensus of 56.0. For perspective, the increase in jobs reflects improvement in the labor market, and readings above 50.0 indicate an expansion in the manufacturing sector. The issue is that the pace of economic growth has slowed.

The relatively minor impact of this week’s data must be considered in light of the performance of the stock and mortgage markets so far this year. Entering the week, stocks had experienced significant losses, as the Dow was down roughly 5% in January. Similarly, mortgage rates have seen significant improvement since the start of the year. To some degree, investors were already positioned for weak data this week. In addition, questions about the effect of unusually severe weather caused some investors to question how accurately recent data reflects the underlying strength of the economy.

The Unemployment Rate fell to the lowest level since October 2008
The 2013 Trade Deficit was the smallest since 2009
The Treasury will auction $70 billion in securities next week
The European Central Bank (ECB) made no change in rates


Next week, Janet Yellen, the new Fed chair, will testify before Congress on Tuesday and Thursday, and her comments could influence mortgage rates. The most significant economic report will be the Retail Sales data on Thursday. Retail Sales account for about 70% of economic activity. Before that, the JOLTS report, measuring job openings and labor turnover, will come out on Tuesday. Industrial Production, Import Prices, and Consumer Sentiment will be released on Friday. In addition, there will be Treasury auctions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

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