While there was a full slate of economic data and Treasury auctions last week, investors were focused on a speech by Fed Chief Bernanke on Friday. The resulting increase in expectations for future Fed action was positive for mortgage rates, which ended the week a little lower.
Bernanke did not commit to implementing any additional easing measures in his highly anticipated speech from Jackson Hole, but his comments caused investors to raise their expectations for a third round of Fed asset purchases (called quantitative easing or QE3). Bernanke emphasized that a high jobless rate imposes large costs on the economy and left the door open for further easing. QE3 would likely involve Fed purchases of mortgage-backed securities (MBS), so mortgage rates improved after his speech. The possibility of additional monetary stimulus also caused stocks to rally on Friday.
The housing sector data released last week continued to show improvement. July Pending Home Sales increased 2% from June to the highest level since April 2010, which was shortly before the deadline for the homebuyer tax credit. Pending Home Sales are a leading indicator of future housing market activity. The June S&P/ Case-Shiller 20-city home price index increased 2.3% from May.
The biggest economic event this week may be the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting on Thursday. Investors will be watching whether there will be an announcement of additional aid measures for European countries with debt troubles. The biggest US economic report this week will be the important Employment data on Friday. As usual, this data on the number of jobs, the Unemployment Rate, and wage inflation will be the most highly anticipated economic data of the month, particularly this month coming out a little before the next Fed meeting on September 12. Before the employment data, ISM Manufacturing and Construction Spending will be released on Tuesday, (today). Productivity is scheduled for Wednesday. ISM Services will come out on Thursday. Mortgage markets were closed on Monday in observance of Labor Day.
Give Donna, Pete, Cody or Drew a call today to discuss rates & get your buyer “Pre-Approved”.
You can reach any/all of us at 918-592-6000.
Thank You For Your Partnership.
Make It A Great Week!