Author bio section

The Week that was:

The bond and mortgage markets were choppy, swinging on weak Treasury auctions (the 10 yr and 30 yr). Not much in the way of economic measurements but what there was were better than what had been expected.

  • Retails in Nov were better than markets were looking for, the U. of Michigan consumer sentiment index indicated consumers are increasing their optimism about the economic outlook, and while somewhat ignored in the past couple of years as a positive, the Oct international trade deficit declined for the first time in years.
  • Weekly MBA mortgage application data for last week. The overall application index increased 8.5%; the purchase applications were up 4.0% while re-finances increased 11.1%. The increase in purchase applications reflected a 10.0% increase in Government Purchase applications and a 0.2% decrease in Conventional Purchase applications. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 4.88% from 4.79%, with points increasing to 1.17 from 1.00 (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value (LTV) ratio loans. This ends a six week run of declining 30-year fixed rates.

The week that will be:

  • The giant in the china shop is the FOMC meeting that concludes on Wednesday with the short, but critical, statement. With economic improvement slowly but surely improving, markets will be keyed on what if anything it means to the Fed. Bernanke and most Fed officials have been stalwart on letting short term rates remain at zero for most of 2010, or at least until there is complete conviction job markets are stabilizing and some evidence jobs are being created.
  • Also this week a number of reports on the condition of the manufacturing sector and Nov housing starts and permits. No data on Monday or Friday.. This is the last week of the year where trading will have a modicum of volume.