Marketbites: Mortgage Rates Rising Again
Portfolio Manager Commentary:
Stocks rose Friday as Treasury yields eased from their recent highs and investors considered the cumulative impact from Fed hikes already implemented and digested this week’s comments from the central bank. The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury note dipped below the 4% threshold. Traders have been watching 4% as the key level on the 10-year that could trigger another down move in stocks. At times this week when the 10-year rate rose above that point, stocks retreated. The 10-year Treasury is a benchmark rate that influences mortgages and car loans, so a breakout in the yield could ripple through the economy.
“The stock market is very sensitive to bond yields at this point and looking for some respite to the recent upward moves in yields,” said Yung-Yu Ma, BMO Wealth Management chief investment strategist. “There’s a nervous anticipation to upcoming data releases for jobs and inflation after the difficult readings last month. The market is unlikely to have sustained traction until data points resume a cooling trend.”
All of the major averages notched a winning week. Market sentiment got a boost Thursday after Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said he thinks the central bank can keep its interest rate hikes to 25 basis points rather than the half-point increase favored by some other officials.
Chart of the Day:
The average rate on the standard 30-year fixed mortgage rose to 6.65%, according to a survey of lenders released Thursday by mortgage-finance giant Freddie Mac. That is the highest level since Nov. 10, when it was above 7%. Rates were 6.5% a week ago and less than 4% a year ago. Mortgage rates have risen for four straight weeks, the longest streak of gains since September. This has pushed many would-be buyers back to the sidelines after a brief reprieve at the start of the year.
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