For the week of June 4, 2012 – Vol. 10, Issue 23
>> Texas Mortgage Market Update
QUOTE OF THE WEEK…“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” –John Lubbock, British banker, politician, naturalist and archaeologist
The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for the 20 biggest metros, was up 0.1% (seasonally adjusted) in March, offering more evidence of a real-estate market on the mend. The annual rate of change declined in only three of 20 metros. The chairman of the Index Committee at S&P said, “This is what we need for a sustained recovery: monthly increases coupled with improving annual rates of change.”
>> Review of Last Week
BAD JOBS… Friday’s jobs report showed a meager growth in payrolls during May. This sent investors on a selling spree that resulted in the stock market’s worst day in 6 months and wiped out the Dow’s entire gain for the year. One of the worst US employment reports of the past year revealed a gain of just 69,000 nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate back up to 8.2%. Even worse, downward revisions to the March/April jobs reports meant overall payrolls were up by only 20,000 jobs.
Other economic disappointments included a drop in Consumer Confidence and a downward revision of Q1 GDP to an anemic 1.9% growth rate. Weekly initial jobless claims went up to 383,000, while the ISM Manufacturing index dropped, though it stayed in expansion territory, a good thing. Other positive signs included a 0.2% gain in personal income for April and inflation still under control, with Core PCE up just 0.1%.
For the week, the Dow ended down 2.7%, at 12119; the S&P 500 closed down 3.0%, to 1278; and the Nasdaq ended down 3.2%, to 2747.
Weak data from China, Europe and the U.S. rekindled fears of a global slowdown. The consequent flight to safety pushed bond prices up and sent yields tumbling to record lows. The FNMA 3.5% bond we watch finished the week UP 1.00, at $105.11. With mortgage bond prices gaining, mortgage rates sank to new lows in Freddie Mac’s weekly survey. The national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate hit an all-time trough for the fifth straight week.
DID YOU KNOW?… A consumer reporting agency, or credit bureau, collects information about the creditworthiness of individuals to create a credit score and report. Lenders buy these reports to help them decide how much credit to extend to a borrower.
>> This Week’s Forecast
READS ON THE SERVICES SECTOR, TRADE BALANCE, PLUS SOME FED VIEWS… It’s a quiet week for economic data, but there will be a read on the services sector of the economy, accounting for well over 80% of our jobs. Tuesday’s ISM Services is forecast down slightly for May, but still over 50, showing continued, if slow, growth. Friday, the Trade Balance for April is expected to shrink a bit from the blowout level it achieved in March.
The Fed’s Beige Book will share anecdotal views of the economy from Fed regions around the country. Could offer some useful views, you never can tell.
>> The Week’s Economic Indicator Calendar
Weaker than expected economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and rising loan rates.
Economic Calendar for the Week of Jun 4 – Jun 8
>> Federal Reserve Watch
Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months… With the economy still in the doldrums and inflation under control, economists expect the Fed to keep rates super low well into next year. Note: In the lower chart, a 1% probability of change is a 99% certainty the rate will stay the same.
Current Fed Funds Rate: 0%–0.25%
Probability of change from current policy: