Houston Mortgage & Finance News

It’s a light mortgage news week. We only have a few third tier financial reports being released this week. Mortgage-Backed Securities are hovering between a narrow range of support and resistnce. It will be interesting to see which way mortgage rates break out of this range.

Equities regained record levels as the focus returned to the U.S. economy. After a sell-off on Monday, the S&P 500 Index moved back into its record territory and stayed up there for the remainder of the week. The calming remarks from the Russian leader, which may have been intended in part to stem a dramatic selloff in the ruble and Russian stocks, allowed investors to refocus on the U.S. economy. Data released Monday showed a rebound in the manufacturing sector in February, while consumer spending on services rose at the fastest pace in 12 years. However, a gauge of nonmanufacturing activity, released Wednesday, showed slowing growth in the services sector.

U.S. Treasury yields declined on Monday as investors flocked into lower-risk assets amid worries about Russia’s military occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. However, yields climbed on Tuesday and finished the week higher as an armed conflict in Crimea began to look less likely, encouraging investors to move back into riskier assets. Friday’s February nonfarm payrolls report was more positive than many analysts had expected. The data showed that the economy added 175,000 jobs last month, which is close to the average monthly job gain over the last six months.

In the housing sector, applications for U.S. home mortgages seems to be a on a steady rise. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, rose 9.4 percent in the week ended February 28. The MBA’s seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications rose 9.6 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, rose 9.4 percent. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4.47 percent last week, down 6 basis points from 4.53 percent the week before.

The economic indicators to watch out for this week are Jobless Claims and Retail Sales which are released on Thursday. The Producer Price Index for Final Demand (PPI-FD) comes out on Friday.

 

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