For the third straight week, mortgage markets showed little conviction in the face of contrasting data. Mortgage bonds ended the week slightly better, but mortgage rates did not.
Conforming mortgage rates were up-and-down all week before ending the week with a slight worsening. The inter-day volatility has come to characterize the current mortgage market.
In part, rates are jumpy because of data; it’s unclear when the economy is expanding or contraction — despite the “official call” of the recession’s end in June 2009.
Consider the conflicting reports from last week. Separate Consumer Confidence reports showed sentiment falling in September, but on the other hand:
- Initial jobless claims dropped 3%
- Household income is shown to be rising
- GDP is improving year-over-year
In other words, the economy is in recovery, but the average citizen isn’t believing it. That causes purse-strings to stay tight, thereby retarding economic growth.
Wall Street is struggling with the contrast, and constantly changing its outlook. It’s making mortgage rates tough to pin down and this week should reflect that. In addition to a home sales report and new consumer confidence data, the government prints its market-moving Non-Farm Payrolls report.
More commonly called “the jobs report”, Non-Farm Payrolls details the workforce, its size, and its Unemployment Rate. There’s expected to be little change from August, a month considered “fair” by recent employment standards. If the jobs report shows improvement and/or strength, look for mortgage rates to rise. If the report does deterioration and/or weakness, look for mortgage rates to fall.
The Non-Farm Payrolls will be released Friday at 8:30 AM ET.