Mortgage Market Update 8-24

Prior to 8:30 the DJIA futures was down over 100 points
after the strong 322 point rally yesterday.

At 8:30 July durable goods orders, expected up 1.9%,
was reported up 4.0%; excluding the volatile transportation orders durables was
expected down 0.4%, as reported up 0.7%. A very good report that turned the
trade in stock indexes around to trade unchanged at 9:00. Bookings for goods
meant to last at least three years rose the most in four months, after falling
a revised 1.3% in June. The bond and mortgage markets were a little stronger
prior to durables, and then fell back some but still not much change from
yesterday’s levels.

All markets continue to increase focus on Bernanke’s opening
speech Friday at Jackson Hole.

Risk trades coming off in equities and the bond market as well as currency trading. Gold fell $62 yesterday this
morning down again another $42 at 9:00. Will we get another money printing QE? Or
has the Fed recognized it has run out of bullets in terms of increasing
economic growth? Keeping interest rates low is already a given from the Fed
after the statement from the FOMC two weeks ago; so far the historic low long
term interest rates, including mortgage rates, has had no real impact on the
economy. With many believing another easing will occur, maybe Bernanke feels
cornered and has to do something. What he should do is chastise politicians and
the Administration for failing to accept that spending cuts are now mandatory
as well as increased revenues. Not going to happen.

Earlier this morning the weekly MBA mortgage applications were
weaker again.

The purchase index fell steeply for a second week, down 5.7% in the August 19
week and now at its lowest level in 15 years. Low interest rates aren’t helping
with applications falling across the board including a 15% fall for jumbo loans
and an eight percent fall for government housing programs. Low rates had
triggered a surge in refinancing applications which however eased back 1.7% in
the latest week. Rates moved slightly higher in the week with the 30-year up
seven basis points to 4.39%.

At 9:30 the DJIA opened -50, the 10 yr note -3/32 at 2.17%
and mortgage prices up 1/32 (.03 bp) form yesterday’s close.

After the lower open, by 9:45 the DJIA began to improve and interest rate markets backed off
to trade lower in price, the 10 yr note yield at 9:45 at 2.19% +3 bp while
mortgages were down 5/32 (.15 bp). Lenders that priced prior to 9:30 are
watching closely, anymore weakness will set up re-pricing.

Like yesterday, we are not looking for much in the way of
movement, but the very near
term bias is slightly negative for the
bond and mortgage markets as long as equity markets don’t

Short covering and positioning ahead of Bernanke on Friday is providing a little support in
equities on the idea another easing from the Fed would drive investors back
into stocks. Frankly, I don’t understand that logic; QE 2 didn’t help, another
easing that will push interest rates lower—so low that investors have little
choice but to buy stocks—-seems like a huge stretch. Low interest rates and
some improvement in stock prices have had no positive impact on the economy.

At 1:00 this afternoon Treasury will auction $35B of 5 yr
notes, yesterday’s 2 yr auction met with good demand, most expect the 5 yr
today will also be well bid.

At 10:00, the June FHFA housing price index, not much of a market
mover, fell 4.3% yr/yr; from May to June +0.9%. No reaction to it as it isn’t
new news.

The Troll

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