Well, well, one standard deviation it is. Nonfarm Payrolls hit the tape with job losses of 54K, well below expectations of nearly double that figure. The unemployment rate rose to 9.6%, matching most economists expectations. Back month revising were also in the mix, improving job losses for both June and July. The surprise or surprises in the report came from Private Sector job gains of 67K, Manufacturing which lost 27K jobs, Construction which gained 19K (seems like a bad print to me), and Temporary worker growth of 17K. Hourly Earnings rose .3 (better than expected) while the Average Work Week remained unchanged at 34.2 hours.
August ISM Non-manufacturing Index rounded out this week’s data, disappointing the economic bulls as it fell to 51.1. Market reaction to all of the above was fast and furious with bonds, notes, and mortgage backs all taking it on the chin. Stock futures rallied 10 points on the news. Since then, the dust has settled. Currently, the 10 year note is off 21/32’s, mortgage backs off 14/32’s and 10/32’s, and stocks are plus 55 on the big board. Valuations seem about right as both bonds and stocks have come off their extremes.
I believe what you are seeing is a shift in market sentiment, one that will make stock traders feel better about taking on equity risk (buying stocks) while bond traders are feeling as if it’s time to lighten up fixed income ownership (selling bonds, notes, and mortgage backs) as risk premium is taken out of the market. For Austin mortgage borrowers, this means we should see steady to higher interest rates going forward with intermittent rallies on bad economic data.
We’re not looking for a major shift in pricing or a new, long term bearish trend developing as the economy may be holding its own but still is weak. Remember, we LOST 54K jobs. That is not the making of a robust economy but it is better than we expected. Technically, the chart fits our fundamental bias. Daily trend signals will turn bearish after today’s close. Divergences are all over the chart, most of which have now turned neutral to bearish. What most likely will occur is the creation of a new trading range. One with 2.75% as support and 2.50% as resistance (10 year note). Chopping trading and mortgage pricing could be with us into the 4th quarter given the good news/bad news we will see within economic data releases.
This is a time for Austin mortgage borrowers to be careful. Take advantage of any rally the market gives you and get on the bus before it leaves the station. Glad to see that the Carolinas didn’t fall into the ocean last night. Take care on the east coast.