Mortgage Market Report - April 18, 2011 by Virna Brown of Guaranteed Rate
Vice President of Mortgage Lending
NMLS ID # 35630
This Week; is Holy Week. Trade likely will be quiet with the religious holiday. Most all of the data points this week are centered on the housing sector; starts and permits for Mar, new and existing home sales, the NAHB housing market index Monday and the FHFA housing price index on Thursday. The only other releases are weekly claims on Thursday and the and the April Philadelphia Fed business index also on Friday. That's it for the week. Markets closed on Friday.
Until a week ago the overwhelming consensus in the markets was that the US economy would have a strong Q1 and optimism for the rest of the year was being touted as continued improvement. Over the past week investors were beginning to re-think the economic outlook and lowering expectations. It started with the IMF saying it is revising lower GDP Q1 growth from 2.0% to 1.5%; markets had accepted growth in Q1 at +3.0%. The Fed's Beige Book out last week, while remaining optimistic, showed indications that growth isn't as powerful as markets were thinking. The National Federation of Independent Business overall index fell in April, taking the optimism that had improved since last Oct totally away. Small businesses account for the majority of jobs. This is also earnings season with companies reporting Q1; so far earnings have been a little disappointing.
Consumer spending declining, until recently, have been ignored by investors. Even with gasoline and food prices increasing markets generally didn't pay much attention----until last week. $4.00+ gasoline and rapidly increasing food prices will, as we have continued to mention, slow consumer spending. Bernanke out there saying the increase in energy and commodity prices are "transitory" may not be; markets beginning to understand that. With consumer spending less than expected and the housing markets still showing no signs of stabilizing, let alone improving, investors are getting a little nervous.