Morning Report: Mortgage purchase applications the highest in a decade

Vital Statistics:


Last Change
S&P futures 3282 -5.25
Oil (WTI) 58.13 0.04
10 year government bond yield 1.79%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 3.87%


Stocks are lower this morning as China and the US sign a Phase I deal on trade. Bonds and MBS are up.


Note we will have some Fed-speak later this morning.


Trump characterized his Phase I deal with China as a “big, beautiful monster” and encouraged farmers to buy bigger tractors. China is agreeing to purchase an additional $200 billion of US goods over the next two years, which represents about half of the US trade deficit. Energy, agricultural, and industrial exports are all set to increase, while the US will cancel new tariffs on cellphones and laptops. Some other tariffs will be reduced while others will remain in place.


Mortgage applications increased 30% last week as purchases rose 16% and refis rose 43%. This was the first week after the holidays, so there is probably are some weird adjustments playing out. Rates fell 4 basis points to 3.87%. Most notably, purchase activity increased 8% from a year ago and is at the highest level since October 2009.  A few homebuilders specifically mentioned on their earnings calls that they are seeing no season slowdown this year. At any rate, the Spring selling season is just around the corner. Note that while we are at a 10 year high on the purchase index, we are still well below bubble levels


MBA purchase index


Inflation at the wholesale level remains below the Fed’s target, with the headline producer price index up 0.1% MOM and 1.3% YOY. Ex-food and energy, it rose 0.1% and 1.1%. While the producer price index is not the preferred inflation index for the Fed, it confirms we are still not seeing much in the way of inflationary pressures.



49 Responses

    • By contrast, campaigns understate both the power and the difficulty of leading the world’s most powerful and consequential bureaucracy, and the next president will face a particularly hard version of that job, as Donald Trump has driven out a tremendous amount of civil service talent and demoralized many of those who remain.

      They say that like it’s a bad thing.

      I have never covered an agency where the morale was as high, the sense of mission as clear, and the collection of talent as impressive, as the CFPB under Warren.

      Wasn’t it set up to be largely unaccountable and be staffed with all fellow travelers?


      • Is there really any evidence that there has been a loss of “talent” in the civil service?


      • Absolutely. No non-progressives need apply. I couldn’t be happier that the staffers are miserable. makes my day.


        • I feel the same. An autonomous organization built from the ground up to pursue the shared progressive agenda of a bunch of lefties, while ignoring the number of actual consumer complaints to them while claiming to be “protecting” the consumer” should be deconstructed and rebuilt from the ground up–or not rebuilt at all.

          I’m not opposed to consumer protection. But that doesn’t seem to be remotely what that bureacracy was really about.


  1. Free Money for everyone:


    • Trump confirms July 4 fireworks at Mt. Rushmore, brushing aside environmental concerns

      Oh no!

      Really? That’s where they go? Sheesh.

      And last 4th of July, the President threw an Independence Day celebration in Washington, complete with military flyovers, fireworks and military tanks on display.

      CNN is really angry that Trump wants to celebrate America.


  2. Down in the weeds on the National Archivist and the ERA.

    “The current archivist is David Ferriero, an appointee of former President Barack Obama who has held the position since 2009. The bulk of Ferriero’s job is to oversee the National Archives and Records Administration, but he now finds himself caught in the middle of a rekindled fight over the Constitution as a named defendant in both federal lawsuits. Attorneys general for the states of Alabama, Louisiana, and South Dakota have asked a judge to prevent Ferriero from certifying the ERA’s ratification and to acknowledge that five states rescinded their ratifications and should not be counted among the 38. Two pro-ERA advocacy groups, meanwhile, are asking a different federal court to invalidate the 1979 deadline that Congress originally attached to the amendment, ignore the states that have tried to rescind their ratifications, and force Ferriero to certify the ERA as ratified once Virginia submits its paperwork.

    In the past, Ferriero seems to have taken the position that the ERA is a viable amendment, the lapsed congressional deadline notwithstanding. He accepted the post-deadline ratifications of Illinois and Nevada and included both states on a list of those that had ratified the amendment. A National Archives and Records Administration spokesperson, Laura Sheehan, told me it was the archivist’s “responsibility to document the actions that have been taken by the states with respect to any proposed constitutional amendment. The [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion has separately determined that the recent state approvals cannot serve to cause the Equal Rights Amendment to be adopted.” (Ferriero was not available for an interview.)”


    • I pride myself on never watching 24/7 cable “news”. I was entrapped by my wife on this one and continued to be amazed at CNN’s framing of questions and commentary about this EW/BS contretemps. I have assumed this was typical of the 24/7 networks, however, which is why I am glad to return to not watching them.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Phillip asked him to clarify: He never said it? “That is correct,” Sanders said. Phillip turned to Warren and deadpanned: “Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?”

      Christ, CNN is hot garbage. It would be hard to imagine a news network being more overtly biased and cynically manipulative of the news narrative than Fox, but CNN has been doing it.

      Voilà: A one-source pony is now factual “according to several people familiar with the matter.

      Yup. Actual reportage is dead.

      Jake Tapper: Hilary, let me start with you. The explanation that we heard from the Sanders campaign last night was basically, ‘Look, they got their wires crossed.’… What Senator Sanders was trying to say was Trump will exploit misogyny and sexism and make it difficult for a woman to win.
      Hilary Rosen: Yes.
      Jake Tapper: He wasn’t saying he doesn’t believe a woman will win.
      Hilary Rosen: What they were saying is the little lady misunderstood.

      These people are shameless and arrogant and awful human beings.

      Then McIntosh said this: I think what Bernie forgot was that this isn’t a he said/she said story. This is a reported-out story that CNN was part of breaking. So, to have him just flat-out say no, I think wasn’t — wasn’t nearly enough to address that for the women watching.

      Which is the same as saying: since CNN broke this bs story about Sanders with zero corroborating evidence and a flat denial, Bernie just didn’t do enough to address the lies we’re telling about what he said and maybe apologize for having said the things he says he didn’t say and there’s no actual evidence of him saying, where the only sources is a woman who even just recently lied about how she was fired for being pregnant

      Also, I think Warren is an idiot for taking this approach. I get Bernie is her competition but if there’s a better way to alienate Bernie supporters in her pursuit of the Whitehouse, I don’t know what it is. Bernie campaigned for Hillary–but I kind of doubt Bernie would campaign for candidate Warren after this. And plenty of Bernie supporters voted for Hillary. Not so sure that will happen for Warren this time around, either.


      • And then they will wonder why some Sanders supporters won’t back Warren if and when she gets the nomination.

        The other point unremarked on here is that this was all said in the context of a private dinner between the two a few years back.

        The lesson I draw from this is you can’t trust Warren at all with anything you tell her in private, even if you think she’s on your side.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The other point unremarked on here is that this was all said in the context of a private dinner between the two a few years back.

          Everybody’s memory’s are unreliable. (And, a little more armchair psychoanalysis, narcissists memories are notoriously unreliable when it comes to their human relationships, and any place they feel they’ve been wronged or can reshape an event to be about them in some way). To share something that she may believe he really said–but something so inflammatory–two years after the fact, something that she may now misremember or even misunderstood or misheard at the time–is just … well, Trumpian. Only without, IMO, the teflon and pop-culture appeal and brand-recognition.

          I may be wrong but . . . I think that was a bad political strategy. And CNN going all-in for her version of events is not helpful, to her or CNN.


        • The lesson I draw from this is you can’t trust Warren at all with anything you tell her in private, even if you think she’s on your side.

          I also think you can’t trust her, period: so no private dinners. Because you might not even touch on a topic, but if she later sees it as advantageous to say that you did, and make up something bad for you to have said, she’s got a context for it. So probably just stay away entirely.


        • in the context of a private dinner between the two a few years back.

          The lesson I draw from this is you can’t trust Warren at all with anything you tell her in private, even if you think she’s on your side.

          The second lesson is that a private dinner conversation, unwitnessed, can never be the source of a legitimate news story, and therefore a disagreement about it cannot be a legit story.

          These are entertainment networks. Period.

          Liked by 1 person

        • @markinaustin: “The second lesson is that a private dinner conversation, unwitnessed, can never be the source of a legitimate news story, and therefore a disagreement about it cannot be a legit story.”

          This. Exactly. They are “ratings collectors”. Not news.


      • Peak Twitter on this:


        • So, the result of #MeToo is that women never lie about anything? ever?

          Aggressive rhetorical play, BlueCheckMarkTwitter, but i don’t think that’s gonna fly….


        • There;s a divorce lawyer in Austin who has made big bucks on the premise that even lying women never lie.

          Liked by 1 person

        • every time i hear the whining about patriarchy i have to laugh given how anti-male the legal system is.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Several replies include lists of Republican names. It’s not something that can be asserted like that, elsewise Margaret Thatcher was a truth teller. Ann Coulter is a truth teller. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a truth teller. Every conservative woman must be believed!

          They can’t sell that.


        • #BelieveAllLiberalWomen

          Liked by 1 person

    • The point is clearly this somehow amounts to evidence that Bernie said what Warren asserts.

      Comments like this fascinate me:

      You can’t falsely call your friend a liar ever and especially when they are standing on a presidential debate stage right next to you during the most pivotal presidential election of our generation. Bernie handled this poorly full stop and Warren justifiably pushed back by calling him on it.

      Pathological narcissism is a well-documented emotional disorder, and it’s common generally but far more common among politicians and actors.

      The many emotionally abusive bullying tactics pathological narcissist apply are projection and gaslighting (as well as public shaming, rewriting history, etc).

      It would not remotely be out of character for any narcissist (and I am sure Bernie is one, too) to lie about someone, then have that person deny the lie, and then to angrily complain that the other person dared to call them a liar for lying. And to really believe that the other person had an obligation to admit that they did the thing the narcissist knows they are lying about.

      Yet all the comments proceed from the irrational assumption that Warren is proceeding in good faith. The person exhibiting healthy communication and boundaries (and respect of boundaries) in that exchange is Bernie, who validated her concerns, made a commitment to have a discussion about the issue with her, but refused to do it at a time where no actual rational discussion could possibly be had.

      Warren, on the other hand, was demanding to have the discussion right then–based on her immediate emotional desire, with no concern that the environment was impossible for a rational discussion–and not giving any indication she wanted to do anything but dress Bernie down for not accepting her narrative of events.

      Some of that may be cynical from Warren–people need to see that I’m strong and standing up to Bernie on national television–but some of it was probably just straight narcissism–everything is about me, I’m offended so that’s the only thing that’s important, how dare another person act as something other than an extension of me.


      • Also, as Taibbi documented, CNN really gave Bernie no choice on this–irresponsibly, with extreme bias. Warren, on the other hand (since everything is about her) acted as if Sanders had marched out on stage and called Warren a liar to be a dick. Rather than being forced into having to do that by CNN.


    • Here’s an 800 comment post on the same thing, KosKidz not handling this well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The KosKidz are at the stage now where every thread devolves down into, first, a Bernie v Warren fight and then into patriarchy fight.

    It’s the funnest stage!


    • Fast-forward to the present day—to a world of increasing inequality in resources, where rich neighborhoods will feature yard signs claiming that everyone is welcome but where zoning rules claim otherwise: If you don’t think there is any work to do in your own town in advancing the cause of racial equality, you are not looking very hard.

      such a facile and specious argument. rich neighborhoods are single-family zoned, but anyone who has the money can buy a property. Zero racism involved. Zero.

      I know twits like this author fantasize about turning a McMansion into a 4 unit Section 8 on the golf course, but that simply isn’t realistic, and nobody is going to vote to willfully depreciate their biggest asset like that.


      • It’s been my experience that neighborhoods are more reflective of income/economic status rather than race. I have lived in and around Houston since 2003 and every neighborhood I have lived in has, to my count, reflected the demographic breakdown of the city, about 50% white, 25% black and 15% hispanic and 10% Indian. I’d say that the Indian percentage is the only one that is over-represented.


        • I experienced white flight in the cozy suburb my dad lived in through the 70s and 80s—but that was simulanteously a rising tide lifting all boats. Plent of white folks basically said they were moving out because blacks people moved next door, and after a decade or so the entire neighborhood is 90% black. But that’s also because the white folks got in a position to get better houses in better neighborhoods while upward mobile black folks, in many cases, made the move from smaller houses in worse neighborhoods to my dads neighborhood.

          I live in a not-quite-McMansion neighborhood. A fairly typical middle class to upper-middle-class neighborhood. It’s 50% African American with some other ethnicities thrown in. And it’s across the spectrum—the fancier houses are also about 50% black. A few Mexicans. Some Asians.

          But as far as I can tell it’s all about class. It’s how much money you have and how good your credit is. And that’s it. White flight now seems primarily restricted to when houses start becoming rentals and 20 Mexicans move into a single house, and sometimes when the African Americans start bringing less middle-class and more lower echelons relatives. But even then it’s quality of life—the number of cars driving by your window at night blaring rap music makes some folks of all ethnicities want to move.


      • I think the point has merit in terms of the juxtaposition of the yard sign virtue signaling with their actual actions in terms of something that would advance “racial equality” at some personal cost to the people in the neighborhoods.


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