Updated on March 21, 2019 10:19:40 AM EDT
Last week’s unemployment figures were released early this morning, showing that 221,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week. This was a decline from the previous week’s revised 230,000 initial filings. The decline in claims is a sign the employment sector strengthened last week, but since the 221,000 was close to forecasts of 223,000, there has been no influence on this morning’s mortgage pricing.
February’s Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) index was posted at 10:00 AM ET. The Conference Board announced an increase of 0.2%, pegging expectations. The rise means the index is predicting modest economic growth over the next several months. Since it was not a surprise, it has had little impact on today’s trading.
The week closes tomorrow with a single moderately important economic report. Februarys Existing Home Sales report will be posted by the National Association of Realtors at 10:00 AM ET tomorrow morning. It will give us a measurement of housing sector strength and mortgage credit demand. It is expected to reveal an increase in home resales, meaning the housing sector strengthened last month. Bond traders would prefer to see a large decline in sales, pointing towards a rapidly weakening housing sector. Bad news would be a sizable increase in sales, indicating that the housing sector is gaining momentum. That could be troublesome for the bond market and mortgage rates because housing strength makes broader economic growth more likely.
©Mortgage Commentary 2019