Housing Starts increased .3%, hitting a five month high of 610K. However, Building Permits went the other way, falling 5.6%. Single Family starts jumped 4.4% as the South led the way, up 3.6%.

Stocks have been in the driver’s seat today, slipping by over 100 points as Big Blue (IBM) and Apple disappointed the market with weak results. China, raising its lending rate by .25%, helped the dollar but put additional pressure on stocks. You would think that note and mortgage back pricing would have gotten a boost from all this equity punishment. Not to be. Currently, the 10 year note is off 8/32’s. Good news is that mortgage backed securities have tightened to treasuries.

Overall, trading today has been a range-bound affair with prices above yesterday’s lows and below yesterday’s highs. Traders call this an “inside day” which is simply a neutral pattern. Expecting mortgage pricing to hold steady is a pretty good bet.