MMG WEEKLY – WHAT ARE THEY SAYING THIS WEEK?

 

Forecast for the Week 

After last week’s quiet economic release calendar, this week’s calendar heats up.

  • Pending Home Sales will be delivered on Monday and comes after last week’s so-so reports on the housing sector.
  • Consumer Confidence and Consumer Sentiment will be released on Tuesday and Friday, respectively. The data will be closely watched to gauge how the consumer is holding up as economic news has been on the positive side.
  • Wednesday brings the Durable Goods Report, which measures big ticket items that last for an extended time.
  • Initial Weekly Jobless Claims will be released on Thursday. Jobless claims fell to the lowest level since February of 2008 last week as the sector continues to breathe life into the economy.
  • Also on Thursday, the final read for Gross Domestic Product for the 4th quarter of 2011 will be released. In order for the U.S. economy to strengthen, we will have to see sustained growth in the form of the GDP.
  • Friday brings a bunch of reports, including Personal Income and Spending, as well as the Chicago Manufacturing Report.
  • We’ll also see the Core Personal Consumption Expenditures on Friday. This report provides insight into where inflation is at, so the data will be key to the Bond markets. As we know, higher inflation pushes Bond prices lower due to purchasing power loss that is associated with rising consumer prices. And, lower Bond prices can be bad news for home loan rates.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond that home loan rates are based on.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving – and when they are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further – a red “candle” means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green “candle” means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes were on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Bonds have been on a “Down Escalator” trend of late…and this trend is not friendly to home loan rates. I’ll be watching closely to see if Bonds can “step off” this escalator and change course.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Mar 23, 2012)

Japanese Candlestick Chart


Mortgage Market Guide View… 

IRS Warns of New Tax Scam
Senior citizens are the target of a phony refund scheme.
By Cameron Huddleston, Kiplinger.com.

The IRS is warning taxpayers to watch out for people promoting a tax refund or nonexistent stimulus payment based on the American Opportunity Tax Credit. This credit is available to taxpayers who have qualified college expenses, but promoters of the new scheme claim they can get a refund based on the credit even for people who aren’t enrolled in or paying for college.

Scam artists are targeting senior citizens, members of church congregations and people who have little or no income and normally aren’t required to file a return, according to the IRS. Promoters of the scam often charge exorbitant upfront fees to file claims for nonexistent refunds.

The IRS already has stopped thousands of these fraudulent claims and is investigating the source of them. However, the IRS warns taxpayers to be aware of the following to avoid becoming a victim:

-Homemade flyers and brochures implying tax credits are available without proof of eligibility.
-Offers of free money with no documentation required.
-Promises of refunds for “Low Income – No Documents Tax Returns.”
-Unfamiliar for-profit tax services selling refund and credit schemes to the membership of local churches.
-Claims for the expired Economic Recovery Credit Program or for economic stimulus payments.
-Unsolicited offers to prepare a return and split the refund.
-Internet solicitations that direct individuals to toll-free numbers and then solicit Social Security numbers.

For more advice on how to avoid becoming a victim, see 5 Ways to Guard Against Tax Fraud.

Reprinted with permission. All Contents ©2012 The Kiplinger Washington Editors. Kiplinger.com.

Economic Calendar for the Week of March 26 – March 30

Date
ET
Economic Report
For
Estimate
Actual
Prior
Impact
Mon. March 26
10:00
Pending Home Sales
Feb
0.5%
 
2.0%
Moderate
Tue. March 27
10:00
Consumer Confidence
Mar
70.0
 
70.8
Moderate
Wed. March 28
08:30
Durable Goods Orders
Feb
2.5%
 
-3.7%
Moderate
Thu. March 29
08:30
Jobless Claims (Initial)
3/24
350K
 
348K
Moderate
Thu. March 29
08:30
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Q4
3.0%
 
3.0%
Moderate
Thu. March 29
08:30
GDP Chain Deflator
Q4
0.9%
 
0.9%
HIGH
Fri. March 30
08:30
Personal Consumption Expenditures and Core PCE
YOY
NA
 
1.9%
HIGH
Fri. March 30
08:30
Personal Consumption Expenditures and Core PCE
Feb
0.1%
 
0.2%
HIGH
Fri. March 30
08:30
Personal Spending
Feb
0.6%
 
0.2%
Moderate
Fri. March 30
08:30
Personal Income
Feb
0.4%
 
0.3%
Moderate
Fri. March 30
09:45
Chicago PMI
Mar
62.0
 
64.0
HIGH
Fri. March 30
10:00
Consumer Sentiment Index (UoM)
Mar
74.3
 
74.3
Moderate

 

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