Stocks are lower as oil continues to drop. Bonds and MBS are down small.
The week after the jobs report tends to be data-light and this week is no exception. The highlight will be retail sales on Friday. Other than that, expect markets to be dull as traders position for the FOMC meeting next week.
The Labor Market Conditions Index fell to 0.5 from 2.2 in November, according to the Fed. This index is a meta-index of 19 different variables.
The latest Black Knight Mortgage Monitor is out, and they take a look at the high LTV loan universe. FHA has become the go-to high LTV loan product, and they high LTV loans account for 77% of FHA / VA origination. Fannie and Freddie did about 1% in high LTV loans. Home Price appreciation continued in September, with their proprietary home price index up 5.5% on a year-over-year basis.
Larry Summers makes the case that the Fed should go slow with raising interest rates. His main point: that the “neutral interest rate” has been declining and will continue to decline due to the changing allocation of savings versus consumption tilts more towards savings. (More savings = more demand for bonds, which pushes bond yields lower). Of course this argument focuses primarily on the baby boomers, who are retiring and ignores the millennials, which are bigger and will enter the workforce (and spend) over the next decade or so. He makes another point: some of the economic indicators are pointing towards a slowdown, and we don’t want to have monetary policy acting as a drag on an economy that is already weakening. FWIW, I think the body language out of the Fed is that they will take it slow, and I cannot see how an extra 25 or 50 basis points on the Fed Funds rate is going to be that material of a drag on the US economy. In reality, a sub-1% Fed Fund rate is still incredibly accomodative.
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