Mortgage Rates Improve Despite Positive Economic Data

Mortgage interest rates improved slightly despite economic data that was mostly stronger than expected. Economic data stronger than expected included the February Chicago Fed National Activity Index, the January Case-Shiller Home Price Index, the final look at Q4 GDP, February Wholesale Inventories, NAR Pending Home Sales, and Weekly Jobless Claims. Weekly Jobless Claims fell to their lowest level since 1973. Economic data weaker than expected included the March Consumer Confidence Index, the February U.S. Trade Deficit, the March Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, and the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. While weaker than expected, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index reached its highest final monthly level since January 2004. Also of note, February Personal Income and Spending were in line with expectations. The February core Personal Consumption Expenditures Index, excluding food and energy, was up 0.2% month over month and 1.6% year over year, slightly higher than expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 24,103, up over 500 points on the week. Markets are closed for Good Friday. The crude oil spot price closed at $64.91 per barrel, down almost $1 per barrel on the week. The Dollar strengthened versus the Euro and Yen on the week.

Next week look toward Monday’s ISM Manufacturing Index and Construction Spending, Wednesday’s Factory Orders and ISM Services Sector Index, Thursday’s International Trade and Jobless Claims, and Friday’s employment report for March as potential market moving events.