December 16th, 2009 5:12 PM by Mel Samick
Wednesday's bond market has opened in positive territory after this morning's inflation data did not cause concern like yesterday's PPI release did. The stock markets are mixed at closing with the Dow down 11 points and the Nasdaq up 6 points. The bond market is currently up 16/32, which should improve mortgage rates.This morning's major news came from the Labor Department who reported that November's Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.4% and that the more important core data reading was unchanged from October's level. The overall reading matched forecasts but the core data fell short of the 0.2% that was expected. This means that inflation at the consumer level of the economy was not nearly as strong as feared after yesterday's Producer Price Index was posted. This is good news for the bond market and mortgage rates.Today's second release was November's Housing Starts that gave us an indication of housing sector strength. It matched forecasts of an 8.9% rise in construction starts of new homes, but this data is the least important this week's reports. Its impact on this morning's bond trading and mortgage rates has been minimal.Later today, the two-day FOMC meeting with adjourn. There is not much debate about what the Fed will do at this meeting with little chance of them raising key short-term interest rates. Therefore, the post meeting statement will likely be the sole source of a market reaction. This statement has the potential to have a significant influence on the markets and mortgage rates as investors look for any indication of what and when the Fed may do next. Generally speaking, the bond market would like to hear something that indicates the Fed will not be raising rates anytime soon. Tomorrow morning does bring us the release of a moderately important when November's Leading Economic Indicators (LEI). This 10:00 AM release attempts to measure or predict economic activity over the next three to six months. It is expected to show a sizable increase in activity, meaning that it predicts any expanding economy over the next several months. This probably will not have much of an impact on bond prices or affect mortgage rates unless it exceeds current forecasts of a 0.7% increase from October's reading. The lower the reading, the better the news for bonds. If it shows a smaller increase, the bond market may move slightly higher, improving mortgage rates slightly.