August 20th, 2009 3:20 PM by Mel Samick
Thursday's bond market has opened fairly flat following gains in stocks and no major surprises in today's economic data. The Dow is currently up 71 points while the Nasdaq has gained 20 points. The bond market is currently up 22/32, but I don't believe we will see much of a change in this morning's mortgage rates.
The Labor Department gave us weekly unemployment figures early this morning. They reported that 576,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week. This was more than what analysts were expecting to see, but this data is not considered to be highly important. Therefore, it has had a minimal impact on bond trading and mortgage rates this morning.July's Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) was released by the Conference Board. This index attempts to measure economic activity over the next three to six months and is considered to be moderately important. It showed an increase of 0.6%, indicating we should see an increase in economic activity over the next few months. But it matched forecasts, making it a non-factor in this morning's rates, plus we would need to see several months of increases because of the volatile nature of this index.Tomorrow's only relevant data is July's Existing Home Sales. The National Association of Realtors will release this report, giving us a measurement of housing sector strength. It covers approximately 85% of home sales in the U.S., but usually does not have a major influence on bond trading and mortgage rates unless it varies greatly from analysts' forecasts. It is expected to show an increase from June's sales, meaning the housing sector is strengthening.