Weekly Recap and the Financial Markets
Two main events impacted mortgage rates last week – one positive and one negative. The canceled vote on the health care bill was positive for rates, while an impressive rise in consumer confidence was negative. The offsetting effects resulted in rates ending the week a little lower.
President Trump was unable to gather enough votes to pass the health care bill and the vote was canceled late Friday afternoon. Concerns have heightened about Trump’s ability to deliver his business-friendly policy changes in other areas. Policies that stimulate growth are good for the economy but also contribute to an outlook for inflation. Investors pushed rates higher in anticipation of policy changes. As a result, last week’s reduced expectations were good for mortgage rates.
Tuesday’s report on Consumer Confidence from the Conference Board showed an enormous increase, the highest level in a decade. Solid gains were seen in optimism about both present and future economic conditions. Higher confidence levels generally lead to increased future economic activity, so this data was broadly applauded, but it was not good for rates.
Encouraging news in the housing sector continued this week. In February, the Pending Home Sales index rose 5.5% from January to the second-best level in a decade. There are two reports each month which measure sales of previously owned homes. The report on sales of existing homes measures closings during the month, while pending sales measure contracts signed, making the Pending Home Sales data a leading indicator of future closings.
Looking ahead, the important monthly Employment report will be released 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. Before that, the ISM national manufacturing index and Construction Spending were released Monday. The ADP Employment Change and the ISM national services index will came out earlier today.
Posted on April 6, 2017 at 9:30 am by Rob Williams