|US dollar index||92.0|
|10 Year Govt Bond Yield||2.58%|
|Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA||101.438|
|Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA||102.784|
|30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage||4.19|
Stocks are lower this morning as oil continues to fall. Bonds and MBS are down small.
Initial Jobless Claims ticked up to 243k last week. The 4 week moving average is 237k. Consumer Comfort improved.
There were 37,000 announced job cuts in February, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas. This is a decline of 19% from January and a decrease of 40% from February last year. The job cuts are dominated by the retail sector as department stores had a lousy holiday season. In fact, the job cuts in retail are almost 6x the next biggest sector (energy). Of course some of this is seasonal, but there continue to be problems with the shopping mall sector or retail. The financial sector also reported about 3,300 job cuts as higher interest rates hurt some in the mortgage space and automation / falling fees reduce headcount in banking and asset management. On the other side of the coin, companies announced they were hiring over 162k – and 100k of them were by Amazon.com. It seems strange to think that for every job lost in bricks and mortar retail, 3 were created for online shopping, but there you go.
Import prices rose 0.2% in February and are up 4.6% YOY, however when you strip out petroleum, they fell 0.1% and are up 0.5% YOY. While the Fed is concerned about potential inflation, we have yet to see any hard evidence of it yet.
Rising home prices helped reduce negative equity by over $2 billion in the fourth quarter, according to CoreLogic. About 3.2 million homes (or 6.2%) have negative equity. A total of 7.7 million have under 20% equity. These loans become refi candidates as home price rise. Cashout refis driven by increasing home prices will undoubtedly become a larger component of the refi universe as rates continue to rise.
Under Donald Trump’s proposed budget HUD will get about 14% less than last year. It looks like most of the cuts will fall on community devlopment block grants and public housing maintenance. It doesn’t appear (at least initially) that the mortgage side of things is affected at all.