Morning Report: The Fed maintains rates

Vital Statistics:


Last Change
S&P futures 2683.5 1
Eurostoxx index 358.58 0.07
Oil (WTI) 54.26 0.03
10 year government bond yield 2.67%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 4.59%


Markets are flat after the Fed maintained interest rates. Bonds and MBS are up.


The FOMC held interest rates steady at their January meeting. The statement was taken as dovish, but it is hard to read much into it. The Fed noted that job gains and household spending was “strong” while inflation remained “muted.” They said they can remain “patient” with respect to future moves. In his press conference, Powell mentioned there was talk about slowing the pace of balance sheet reduction, which will make interesting reading once the minutes come out. Bonds initially yawned at the decision, but picked up momentum throughout the afternoon to close on their highs.


The Fed funds futures cut the probability of another hike in 2019 from about 19% to 10% and bumped the probability of a cut up to 12% as well. The consensus remains no changes for all of 2019 however.


fed funds futures


Mortgage applications fell 3% last week as purchases fell 2% and refis fell 6%. There is some noise from the MLK Birthday holiday. Rates were largely unchanged.


The economy added 213,000 jobs in January, according to the ADP jobs report. This was well above expectations and is much higher than the 158,000 estimate for tomorrow’s jobs report. So far, it looks like the government shutdown didn’t spill over into the real economy, which makes sense – it was only a partial government shutdown – and the whole thing was more about tribal signalling than anything else.


Pending Home Sales fell 2.2% in December, according to NAR. Year-over-year contract signings were down 10%, which is the 12th consecutive month of declines. All geographies saw a drop, with the South being affected the worst. Blame higher rates and home prices which are decreasing affordability.


FINRA has again delayed the implementation of Rule 4210, which mandated risk limits and margin requirements for TBA transactions, spec pools, and CMOs. The net effect will be to increase liquidity for smaller mortgage originators. The rule has been delayed until March 2020. The rule treats mortgage originators (who hedge their pipeline with TBAs) the same as hedge funds who speculate in commodity contracts, which doesn’t make a lot of sense.

23 Responses

  1. one of the most convenient political buckets is “fiscally conservative, but socially liberal”

    Will “socially liberal” require people to buy into the cultural marxist / SJW privilege and oppression worldview?


      • it’s like people have aspired to be a school hall monitors.

        “are you chewing gum? tuck in the shirt. don’t slouch.”

        I think the biggest generational difference is this desire to “de-platform” someone.

        Even if you could silence someone, why would you want to. it’s so lame.


      • “I have never seen social interaction this fucked up,” she wrote in an email. “And I’ve been in prison.”


        • That’s it exactly. Something about the anonymity and the potential for viralness and the ability to build these substantial-as-smoke “followings” of online “friends” has made social media environments–Twitter, especially, but others in other ways–into toxic cesspools with zero redeeming social value.

          Something like the complaint about a young adult novel featuring people with racist attitudes–as bad guys, negatively portrayed–being this terrible tract is at once Victorian in its moralizing and idiotic in it’s book-burning zeal.

          And ultimately, I expect the power these skirmishes give certain people informs what they do more than the offense. It’s got to be exciting for them. And when this sort of destructive garbage is what gives their lives meaning . . . it’s gonna be a cesspool.


        • generations like this don’t come around too often, people with this righteous crusade vibe to them.


      • The culture that created William S Niedermeyer has become him.


    • “socially liberal” is code for “wants to get laid”. And usually means they are cool with sex before marriage, marijuana, dancing in public, curse words. It’s a way of saying: “I’m not a Baptist. But I don’t want you to raise my taxes, either.”


    • pointing to the story of a worker named Dolores from a poultry processing plant. Dolores, she said, told Oxfam that she and her co-workers had to wear diapers to work because they were prevented from taking bathroom breaks while working.

      And how does taxing rich people in America and Europe fix that, exactly? The only way they can possibly think it will is if they believe all money was created at the beginning of the universe and there’s only so much of it, so if a rich guy gets richer it’s only because some poor person has to wear a diaper. Which is nuts.

      If their argument is that we need to raise taxes to pay for a larger standing army so we can take over other countries and impose Western style democracies and values (and law), then maybe I can see how raising taxes would help–as long as it was accompanied by cultural imperialism.


  2. This will be amusing:

    “Trump considers former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain for Federal Reserve”


  3. I wonder if the Washington Post realizes that it’s wall to wall coverage of the personal issues of Federal employees from the shut down often backfires in terms of generating sympathy for them.

    “Shutdown leads to continuing psychological issues for federal employees
    “Once trust is violated, it is difficult to gain it back.”'”

    There’s an obvious contrast to how much they don’t give a shit about the employees if Sears does layoffs.


  4. Like

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