Morning Report: Gary Cohn for Fed?

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P Futures 2472.5 -1.0
Eurostoxx Index 379.5 -0.2
Oil (WTI) 49.8 0.2
US dollar index 86.0 0.0
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.24%
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 102.93
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 103.81
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 3.94

Global stocks are lower after the Bank of England cut its growth forecast. Bonds and MBS are up.

Initial Jobless Claims fell by 5,000 to 240,000 last week. Employers are holding on to their employees. Separately, Challenger and Gray reported that there were 28,307 announced job cuts in July, which is the lowest level since November last year. 80,000 hiring announcements were also made in July, which is the highest July reading on record.

The ISM non-manufacturing index slipped in June, which appears largely driven by seasonal factors.

Goldman Sachs alum Gary Cohn is reportedly the front-runner to replace Janet Yellen at the Fed when her term expires. He would be the first non-economist to run the Fed since the disastrous tenure of G. William Miller during the Carter Administration.

Fannie Mae reported net income of $3.2 billion in the second quarter. It paid a $2.8 billion dividend to Treasury in June. Fannie is returning to its roots as well: “Fannie Mae has transitioned from a portfolio-focused business to a guaranty-focused business. Income from the company’s guaranty business accounted for more than 75 percent of the company’s net interest income in the first half of 2017. Fannie Mae expects net interest income from the company’s guaranty business to account for an increasing portion of net interest income as its retained mortgage portfolio continues to shrink.” Fannie Mae drew $116B from Treasury during the crisis, and has paid $163B in dividends back. Those dividend payments have been used to shore up Obamacare.

The MBA concludes that its plan for housing going forward will have little impact on consumer borrowing costs. Some of the proposals will lower costs, while others will increase costs. The biggest change would cement the explicit guarantee for GSE MBS by the government. This will push down rates and also increase demand, assuming that bank regulatory capital requirements will treat the new GSE MBS the same as GNMA MBS. In other words, banks can treat GNMA MBS as Treasuries and require no capital against them. FNMA MBS have a 20% hit. On the other side of the coin, there will be additional fees earmarked for affordable housing and possibly increased guaranty fees to protect the taxpayer. There will have to be a debate over how big the credit box will be, and affordable housing types will argue it should be bigger while taxpayer advocates will want it smaller. Overall, MBA thinks it will be a wash when it comes to mortgage pricing.

Luxury home price appreciation outpaced the rest of the market for the first time since 2014, according to Redfin. Much of this was driven by homes being taken off the market. The average luxury home price was 1.79 million, which means we really are talking about the rarified top end of the market. The number of luxury homes on the market fell 9.4% YOY. 1.7% sold above list. The rest of the market averaged $336k and 26% traded above list.

The debt ceiling is looming, and Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are advocating for a hike without spending cuts, which is sure to anger many in the GOP.

10 years ago, the Jim Cramer rant that unofficially heralded the start of the financial crisis.

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