Daily Market Update

Updated on April 3, 2020 10:21:35 AM EDT
Friday’s bond market has opened in positive territory following some surprisingly weak employment news. The major stock indexes are mixed at the moment with the Dow down 43 points and the Nasdaq up 4 points. The bond market is currently up 7/32 (0.58%), which should improve this morning’s mortgage rates if comparing to Thursday’s early pricing.

This morning’s only relevant economic data was March's Employment report at 8:30 AM ET. It showed that the U.S. unemployment rate jumped from 3.5% in February to 4.4% last month. The report also revealed that a whopping 701,000 jobs were lost during the month, greatly exceeding the decline that was expected. Both readings are very favorable for bonds as they point towards an employment sector that was in worse shape last month than many had thought. The snapshot was taken the week of March 9th through 13th, meaning next month’s update is likely to reflect an even worse scenario.

A third headline reading that traditionally draws much attention is average hourly earnings that came in stronger than predicted at up 0.4%. That would usually be bad news for bonds and mortgage rates since it is a wage-inflation indicator. However, it is believed that the massive number of lost jobs were likely lower hourly-wage positions that tend to be in the hospitality and food industry, boosting average earnings of the remaining workforce. In other words, while the headline number is unfavorable for mortgage rates, it actually had little influence on this morning’s pricing.

Next week doesn’t have much scheduled for the early days, but between Wednesday afternoon and Friday morning there are several events set that may influence the markets and mortgage rates. Weekend news, particularly about the pandemic and the impact on the economy, should drive trading as the new weeks begins. We expect to see more stability in the markets and mortgage rates as each week passes. That doesn’t mean it is safe to assume the volatility is behind us and there could be quite volatile days here and there. Just that we should be seeing fewer of them over the next couple weeks. Look for details on next week’s calendar in Sunday evening’s weekly preview.

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