|US dollar index||90.2||-0.4|
|10 Year Govt Bond Yield||2.44%|
|Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA||102.1|
|Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA||103.2|
|30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage||4.16|
Stocks are lower this morning on overseas weakness. Bonds and MBS are up.
The Fed maintained interest rates at current levels and made no changes to its reinvestment policy. The statement itself was relatively dovish, which caused a small rally in bonds in the afternoon. The money quote: “In light of the current shortfall of inflation from 2 percent, the Committee will carefully monitor actual and expected progress toward its inflation goal. The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run.” There was no mention of Washington, and a slight reference to improving sentiment.
Productivity remains a problem as it increased at an anemic 1.3% pace in the fourth quarter. Output increased 2.2% and hours worked increased 0.2%. Unit labor costs increased 1.7% as wages and compensation increased 3% and productivity increased 1.3%. Part of the problem is that business capital expenditures have been in maintenance mode since the financial crisis. Morgan Stanley believes that sentiment is changing, and that means more capital expenditures going forward. Higher productivity means higher non-inflationary wage growth, which translates into higher standards of living. Note the recent divergence between capital expenditure plans and actual spending.
Announced job cuts increased to 45,934 in January, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas. The holiday season was atrocious for many bricks and mortar retailers, and some are shuttering stores and declaring bankruptcy. Macy’s accounted for almost a quarter of the layoffs. The energy patch is finally on the mend and hiring again.
Initial Jobless Claims fell to 246,000 last week.
The homeownership rate ticked up to 63.7% in the fourth quarter after hitting a 52 year low in the second quarter. Overall, the homeownership rate for 2016 was the lowest since records began in 1965.
NAR took a look at the aspiring homeowner in its latest survey. Affordability was the #1 reason for people not owning a home, followed by flexibility concerns. That said, 88% of non-owners eventually do want to own a home. There still seems to be a disconnect between what people think they need (as far as a downpayment) versus what is actually required. FHA loans remain the best way to get these people their first home.