Rates Flat Prior to Jackson Hole Economic Symposium

Mortgage interest rates were mostly flat on the week as markets focus on today’s Jackson Hole Economic Symposium. Fed Chair Yellen and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi speak today. Markets are looking for clues as to whether Yellen will begin tapering the Fed’s balance sheet at its September FOMC Meeting as well as the likelihood of a rate increase at the December Meeting. Markets also are looking for indications of whether Draghi will reduce the ECB’s current quantitative easing as well as increase their base lending rate. Economic data was limited. Of note, the June FHFA Housing Price Index, July New Home Sales, July Existing Home Sales, and July Durable Goods Orders were all weaker than expected. Weekly Jobless Claims were slightly stronger than expected. Hurricane Harvey is moving closer to the Gulf Coast, threatening 35% of our gasoline refineries.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is currently at 21,842, up about 170 points on the week. The crude oil spot price is currently at $47.79 per barrel, down almost $1 per barrel on the week. The Dollar strengthened versus the Yen and weakened versus the Euro on the week.

Next week look toward Monday’s International Trade, Tuesday’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index and Consumer Confidence Index, Wednesday’s ADP Employment Report and second look at Q2 GDP, Thursday’s Jobless Claims and Personal Income and Outlays, and Friday’s employment report for August, ISM Manufacturing Index, Construction Spending, and Consumer Sentiment Index as potential market moving events.