Interest rates are generally sideways, equity futures are flat and oil prices are above $90 per barrel while the market awaits final GDP revisions, existing home sales and home price data.

Seventy minutes before the opening bell, S&P 500 futures are 0.25 points higher at 1,251 and Dow futures are 2 points lower at 11,469. Meanwhile in the bond market interest rates are generally sideways though off the best levels of the overnight session. The 10yr TSY note is -6/32 at 94-05 yielding 3.325%. The Fannie Mae 4.5 MBS coupon is -2/32 at 102-04.
Light crude oil is 0.37% higher at $90.16 per barrel, while gold prices are 0.15% higher at $1,387.25

The just-released weekly MBA Mortgage Applications Index showed loan application volume fell 18.6% in the week ending Dec. 17. Purchases were down 2.5% and refinancings slipped 24.6% ― marking a sixth straight decline. 

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased one basis point to 4.85%.

“Refinance application volume dropped sharply this week as mortgage rates held near six month highs,” said Michael Fratantoni from MBA. “Purchase applications fell for a second week, with the level of applications little changed over the past month, indicating that home sales are likely to remain relatively weak over the next few months.”

Key Events Today:

8:30 ― Revisions are expected to boost third-quarter GDP by three tenths to an annual growth rate of 2.8%. This is the second set of revisions; the original projection for third-quarter GDP on Oct. 29 was just 2%. As we head into 2011, the real focus is on fourth-quarter figures and what that means for 2011. Fortunately, the third-quarter revisions are set to rise in large part because of inventory accumulation, which indicates that businesses were expecting a pickup in demand.

“Sometimes faster inventory accumulation is a bad signal for future growth, but recent evidence on demand has been coming in strong, suggesting that these inventories are desired, rather than unwanted,” said economists at IHS Global Insight. “At this point, fourth-quarter growth is shaping up at over 3%, better than the revised third quarter.”

10:00 ― Existing Home Sales are anticipated to climb 5% to an annualized rate of 4.71 million in November, up from 4.43 million in October. The expected gain is based largely on a 10.4% jump in the pending home sales index, which anticipates existing home sales by a month or two. Last month, existing home sales fell 2.2%, with sales down in all four regions despite prices down 0.9% compared to last year. 

“Existing home sales have made some headway since collapsing in July,” said economists at IHS Global Insight. “For November, we are expecting a pickup to a 4.66 million annual rate, based on October's 10.4% increase in the Pending Home Sales Index, and November's 7.7% increase in the MBA's Purchase Index.”

10:00 ― Consensus forecasts were not available for the FHFA House Price Index, but economists at BMO Capital Markets predicted that median home prices fell 0.2% during the month, leaving the annual change back in negative territory at -3.9%, the worst read since August 2009.

10:15 Fed buys an estimated $1.5 - 2.5 billion in Treasury coupons maturing between 02/15/21 and 11/15/27.