Market Comment - Week of December 28th, 2009
December 29th, 2009 5:24 PM

Mortgage bond prices fell last week pushing mortgage interest rates higher. The bond market took a beating as stocks surged despite mixed data. Existing home sales in November rose a surprising 7.4%. However, revised gross domestic product figures showed the economy only grew 2.2%, which was weaker than the expected 2.8% mark. Personal income and outlays data came in weaker than expected helping a bit. Unfortunately, the thin trading conditions magnified the earlier losses and made it difficult to recover. For the week interest rates rose by about 1 3/8 discount points.

The Treasury auctions will take center stage next week. If foreign demand falters we will likely see mortgage interest rates head higher. The bond market will close early Thursday in advance of the New Year's Holiday Friday. The shortened trading week may result in some market volatility coupled with thin trading conditions likely.

Economic Factors
Economic Indicator
Release Date Time
Consensus Estimate
2-year Treasury Note Auction
Monday, Dec. 28, 2009
Important. $44 billion of notes will be auctioned. Strong demand may lead to lower mortgage rates.
Consumer Confidence
Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009
Important. An indication of consumers' willingness to spend. Weakness may lead to lower mortgage rates.
5-year Treasury Note Auction
Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009
Important. $46 billion of notes will be auctioned. Strong demand may lead to lower mortgage rates.
7-year Treasury Note Auction
Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009
Important. $32 billion of notes will be auctioned. Strong demand may lead to lower mortgage rates.
Weekly Jobless Claims
Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009
Moderately Important. An indication of employment. Higher than expected claims may help rates improve.
New Years Day
Friday, Jan. 1, 2010
Important. Thin trading conditions and a shortened trading week could result in significant market volatility.

Consumer Confidence Index

The Conference Board releases the Consumer Confidence Index on the last Tuesday of every month. The report details the levels of confidence individual households have in the performance of the economy. The data is derived from a survey of 5,000 households nationwide. The survey polls consumer opinions on current business conditions, their jobs, their incomes, and their future spending plans.

The consumer confidence index is significant in that it provides a precursor into consumers' willingness to spend in the months ahead. However, many analysts point out that willingness to spend does not always convert to actual expenditures.

Despite economic uncertainty, liquidity issues, and housing market weakness, American consumers continue to spend. However, many analysts question whether consumers can continue to buoy the economy, especially amid rising unemployment and continued tight credit.

This week's release will be eagerly anticipated. Look for any variation from estimates to cause mortgage interest rate volatility. Signs of eroding consumer confidence could lead to improvements in mortgage interest rates. However, stronger than expected figures could spike rates higher.

With mortgage interest rates relatively low, capitalizing on current levels is recommended to protect against future volatility. Remember, mortgage interest rates tend to trend lower slowly, while increases tend to occur quickly. A cautious approach is necessary to protect from future market volatility.

Posted in:General
Posted by Philip Jernigan on December 29th, 2009 5:24 PMPost a Comment

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