The Federal Open Market Committee kicks off a two-day meeting this morning.
It’s one of 8 scheduled meetings the FOMC holds annually.
The FOMC purpose is to discuss the nation’s economic health and, as appropriate, makes new policy that either stimulates or retards economic growth.
The FOMC’s most well-known tool for reaching this goal is the Fed Funds Rate, currently stationed in a highly-stimulative range of 0.000 to 0.250 percent.
Recent data suggests that the economy is recovering, but as of this morning, Wall Street expects the FOMC to leave the Fed Funds Rate as-is, in its current range.
However, it’s not what the Fed does at its adjournment that should matter to today’s rate shoppers and home buyers — it’s what the Fed says.
At 2:15 PM Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will issue a statement about the U.S. economy with the policy-making body’s outlook for the rest of 2009 and 2010. If the FOMC’s overall message is one of economic strengthening, expect stock markets to rally and mortgage markets to sink on the news.
This would push mortgage rates higher.
On the other hand, if the FOMC alludes to weakness in labor markets and capital investment, it should help buoy rates lower.
The Federal Reserve does not control mortgage rates, but it can definitely exert an influence. For this reason, floating a mortgage rate into Fed’s official announcement is risky. Moreover, given the recent momentum in mortgage rates and in the markets, it seems more likely that rates could go up versus come down.
The Fed’s press release hits the wires at 2:15 PM ET Wednesday. If you’re the cautious type, consider locking your mortgage rate prior to its release.