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Wild Week

In one of the most volatile weeks ever seen, important economic news came out every day and produced major reactions in financial markets. Investor uncertainty is extremely high, amplifying the price movements. As stock prices fluctuated wildly, so did mortgage rates, which reached new lows for the year.

Into this highly charged environment, a steady flow of significant economic news added fuel to the flames. It began late last Friday with the announcement that S&P downgraded the credit rating of US debt. Then the Fed shocked investors with its statement (see below). A scare ran through financial markets that European banks, particularly in France, were at risk of failing, but these fears abated quickly. Investors were comforted by very strong demand for the 3-year and 10-year Treasury auctions, and then were taken aback by extremely poor results for the 30-year auction. It is not surprising that many financial markets set volatility records this week.

The biggest surprise in Tuesday’s FOMC statement was that the Fed currently anticipates that economic conditions will call for the fed funds rate to remain exceptionally low through at least the middle of 2013. The Fed also downgraded its forecast for economic growth, saying that it will be “considerably slower” than previously expected at the last FOMC meeting on June 22. Slower economic growth with few signs of higher inflation will make it more difficult for the labor market to recover, but it is a favorable environment for mortgage rates.

Also Notable:
• Consumer Sentiment fell to the lowest level since May 1980
• Weekly Jobless Claims declined to 395K, the lowest level since April
• Gold prices touched a record high above $1,800 per ounce
• The European Central Bank began to purchase Italian and Spanish bonds

retail sales graph

Average 30 yr fixed rate:
Last week: -0.20%
This week: -0.10%

Stocks (weekly):
Dow: 11,300 -150
NASDAQ: 2,525 -10

Week Ahead
The most significant economic data next week will be the monthly inflation reports. The Producer Price Index (PPI) focuses on the increase in prices of “intermediate” goods used by companies to produce finished products and will come out on Wednesday. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the most closely watched monthly inflation report, will come out on Thursday. CPI looks at the price change for those finished goods which are sold to consumers. In addition, Industrial Production, an important indicator of economic growth, will come out on Tuesday, along with Housing Starts. Existing Home Sales will be released on Thursday. Empire State, Import Prices, Leading Indicators, and Philly Fed will round out the schedule.

Roger is an owner and licensed Loan Officer at Blue Water Mortgage. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore School of Business and has been a leader in the mortgage industry for over 20 years. Roger has personally originated over 2500 residential loans and is considered to be in the top 1% of NH Loan Officers by leading national lender United Wholesale Mortgage.