Thursday, April 1, 2010 4:30 PM

Thursday’s bond market has opened in negative territory due to a much stronger than expected reading of manufacturer sentiment. The stock markets are showing sizable gains with the Dow up 78 points and the Nasdaq up 17 points. The bond market is currently down 9/32, which will likely push this morning’s mortgage rates higher by approximately .250 of a discount point.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) gave us this morning’s important economic data. They reported a reading of 59.6 that was well above forecasts of a 57.0 reading. This was the eighth straight month of increases and its best since July 2004, indicating that manufacturers are feeling more and more optimistic about business conditions. That is considered negative news for bonds because it points towards economic growth, making inflation more of a concern.

Also posted this morning were weekly unemployment figures from the Labor Department. They announced that 439,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week, down 6,000 from the previous week’s revised total. This could be considered negative news for bonds also, but fortunately this data has little impact on the markets and mortgage rates unless it varies greatly from forecasts.

The Labor Department will be in the spotlight early tomorrow morning when they post March’s Employment report. This release will give us the U.S. unemployment rate and the number of jobs added or lost during the month. This is an extremely important report to the financial and mortgage markets. It is expected to show that the unemployment rate remained at 9.7% and that approximately 190,000 payrolls were added during the month. A higher unemployment rate and a smaller than expected payroll number would be good news for bonds and would likely push mortgage rates lower tomorrow.

Tomorrow is Good Friday and recognized as a holiday, so the stock markets will be closed. However, the bond market will be open until noon ET Friday before closing for the holiday. This makes it very likely that we will see plenty of movement in bonds and mortgage rates before the bond market closes at noon. It also means that we can expect to see more volatility Monday morning when the stock markets have an opportunity to react to tomorrow’s data, which also will influence bond trading. It will be interesting to see what transpires those days, especially if the Employment report reveals surprising results.


Massachusetts Mortgage Broker License # MB1319
NMLS Company ID 1601 / NMLS Individual ID 3788