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Three Things Moving the Markets
Mortgage Market Guide Weekly -- August 10, 2021
"In a New York minute, everything can change" … New York Minute by Don Henley

This past week long-term interest rates dropped to the lowest levels in six months. Let’s break down three things that moved the markets and what to look for in the week ahead.

1: “The path of the economy depends on the course of the virus.” - Fed Statement.

COVID continues to linger causing disruption and restrictions in economic activity. The stall in vaccinations and uncertainty surrounding the Delta and Delta Plus variant has been enough to cause investors to flee into the safe- haven of the U.S. Dollar and U.S. Dollar-denominated assets like Treasury and Mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Note, the 10-year Note yield has been seeing outsized rate improvement versus mortgage rates…this as the safe-haven trade typically sees more money flow into Treasuries than any other asset. So, while mortgage rates did improve week over week, they did not improve like the 10-year yield, which dropped sharply to 1.12% midweek.

2: Mixed signals on half the Fed’s mandate.

The Fed has a dual mandate to promote maximum employment and maintain price stability. On the employment front, the US economy is underperforming and receiving mixed signals. The recent Weekly Initial Jobless Claims data, a leading indicator on labor market health, has shown increases in those looking for unemployment benefits - this was not good. Wednesday's ADP Report came in at half of expectations, suggesting private companies didn't create that many jobs. However, the July Jobs Report showed 943,000 jobs created - which was a strong headline number. Lastly, looking under the hood of the report, the Labor Force Participation Rate didn't move and remains stubbornly low - meaning there are less people “participating” in the labor force. If less people are working or actively looking for a job, that is a bad thing.

3: The U.S. is the place to be.

The U.S. is outperforming the rest of the globe from an economic standpoint, and we are also seeing the largest policy response from the Fed and Administration which attracts global investment into U.S. markets. Additionally, while our 10-year Note is yielding an anemic 1.19% as of Thursday, it is a relatively “juicy” yield when compared to the 10-year German Bund, which is -0.50% or the Japan 10-year Government Bond (JGB) which yields 0.0%.

So, even though our 10-year Note yield may look like a bad investment because the yield is far beneath the long-term inflation rate, it is far better than any other bond yield around the globe. This dynamic pushes foreign investors to “park” their money in our Treasury market – leading to lower rates.

Bottom Line: For the reasons mentioned, if you or someone you know would like to talk about this incredible interest rate opportunity, please contact me.

Looking Ahead

Next week our focus will be on inflation readings from the Consumer Price Index, Treasury supply and continued earnings. And, the reemergence of tapered talk with the Fed which also drives the markets and volatility.
Economic Calendar
MMG Graph
Mortgage Market Guide Candlestick Chart 

Mortgage-backed securities (MBS) prices are what determine home loan rates. The chart below is the Fannie Mae 30-year 2% coupon, where currently closed loans are being packaged.  As prices go higher, rates move lower and vice versa.

MBS were able to rise above their 200-day Moving Average (purple line) but retreated to that level by the week's end. If prices remain near or beneath this purple line, home loan rates will remain at current levels. Should prices be able to break above the purple line, rates could move another leg lower from here. The opposite is true.