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November 29, 2018 | Competing Mortgage Headlines: Rates Barely Move vs Rates Surge Lower on Powell

Mike 'Mish' Shedlock

Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction.
Freddie Mac says “mortgage rates barely move” but Mortgage News Daily says “rates surge lower”

Mortgage News Daily and Freddie Mac offer conflicting reports on the bond market reaction Jerome Powell’s speech yesterday.

Mortgage News Daily says Mortgage Rates Surge Lower

Mortgage rates surged lower today, falling at the fastest single-day pace in more than a year. In order to see the average lender offer lower rates, you’d need to go back to October 2nd at least. For many lenders, it would be a few weeks before that. Granted, this merely restores rates to what had been 7-year highs at the time, but you know what they say about journeys of 1000 steps and what not…

Much of the improvement was driven by an ongoing reaction to a speech by Fed Chair Powell from yesterday.

Surge Defined

A surge is 9 basis points.

Freddie Mac says rates fell 13 basis points. But note the dates.

Freddie Mac posts mortgage data weekly, on Thursdays. Thus, the data is stale. After that table was posted Freddie Mac offered a different opinion.

Mortgage Rates Barely Move

Freddie Mac says Mortgage Rates Barely Move.

November 29, 2018

Mortgage rates stabilized the last couple of months as interest rate sensitive sectors such as new auto and home sales softened the outlook for the economy. Homebuyers pounced on the stability in rates as purchase mortgage applications increased, which indicates that despite higher mortgage rates this year there are buyers on the fence waiting for the right time to buy.

Ignore that galling bit of propaganda about homebuyers pouncing on rate stability as if buyers are coming back. They aren’t. Let’s step back and put this alleged surge into perspective.

Zero Reaction

Fred uses Freddie Mac as its source for this series.

The highest weekly Freddie Mac rate since 2011 was 4.94% on November 8. It’s now down to 4.81% but that happened a week before Powell’s speech.

The above chart does not necessarily negate the MND analysis as MND surveys a number of lenders that may have reacted to Powell’s flea-ridden dog and pony show. But we can check. Mortgage rates closely follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury.

Mortgage Rates vs 10-Year Treasury Yield

Mortgage Rates Peaked One Day After 10-Year Yield Peaked

Flea-Ridden Dog and Pony Show

It’s likely that the MND “surge lower” Powell story is incorrect and that Freddie Mac is a better indicator of timing even if not a better indicator of actual rates.

For discussion of Powell’s flea-ridden dog and pony show, please see Lovey-Dovey Interpretation of Powell Speech Sends Stocks Flying.

By the way, nearly everyone, including me, attributed the market surge yesterday to Powell. While Powell may have been the catalyst, in retrospect, it’s more likely the market was oversold enough to rally on damn near anything he said.

Expect more sharp bear market rallies like that. This process is just beginning.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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November 29th, 2018

Posted In: Mish Talk

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