November 6th, 2009 9:28 AM by Mel Samick
Thursday's bond market has opened down slightly following another stock rally. The stock markets are showing strong gains with the Dow up 203 points and the Nasdaq up 50 points. The bond market is currently up 19/32, which will likely keep this morning's mortgage rates near yesterday's levels.This morning's release of the 3rd Quarter Productivity data gave us favorable results. It showed a spike in productivity of a 9.5% increase. This was much stronger than expected, but that is good news for bonds for this type of data. Strong levels of productivity allow the economy to grow without inflation strains. Since inflation is the number one nemesis of the bond market, any news that eases inflation concerns is considered positive for bonds and mortgage rates.The Labor Department also gave us last week's unemployment figures, reporting that 512,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week. This was lower than forecasts and can be considered negative for bonds, but fortunately this data is not important enough to heavily influence mortgage pricing.October's monthly employment figures will be released early tomorrow morning. This extremely important report is comprised of many statistics and readings, but the most watched ones are the unemployment rate, the number of new jobs added or lost during the month and average hourly earnings. Current forecasts call for a 0.1% rise in unemployment to bring the national rate to 9.9%, a drop in payrolls of approximately 175,000 and a 0.1% increase in average earnings. Weaker than expected readings should rally bonds and lead to improvements in mortgage rates, while stronger than forecasted results would add fuel to the growing economy theory and likely lead to bond selling and higher mortgage rates tomorrow.