Mortgage rates took another step higher yesterday following a 3% rally in the stock market. Tame inflation and “not as bad” industrial production numbers have resparked the green shoots theory of a quick economic recovery. Market participants, not wanting to miss out on the rally, quickly sold their fixed income investments to move their money into the higher risk but higher return equity markets. In total, mortgage backed securities moved lower in price (as price moves lower, rates move higher) by 75 basis points which forced all lenders to reprice for the worse with some issuing a couple reprices as the losses snowballed into close. Losing much more was MBS’s closest relative, the benchmark 10 year note, which sold off and moved to a higher yield of 3.63.  Just a few days ago, the 10 year note was trading under 3.30 in yield.  After mortgage rates briefly touched 4.875% the other day, they have quickly turned and by day’s end yesterday par was sitting at 5.25%.

JP Morgan reported much better than expected earnings this morning. Analysts had expected a 5 cents per share earnings but they reported 2nd quarter earnings of 28 cents per share or $2.7 billion. After the much better than expected earnings from Goldman Sachs earlier this week, many anticipated similar results from JP Morgan which fueled the rally in equities.

The U.S. Department of Labor this morning released the weekly jobless claims for unemployment insurance report. This data set calculates the number of Americans who filed for first time unemployment benefits in the prior week.  Today's report indicates that jobless claims fell from last week’s upwardly revised 569,000 to 522,000. Estimates from economists were for 535,000 first time claims. Continuing claims, which reports how many people continue to file due to lack of finding a new job, fell by 642,000 ― its largest amount in history ― from 6.883 million to 6.273 million.   The Labor Department is warning that the better than expected numbers are being distorted by seasonal issues owing to the fact that layoffs in manufacturing happened earlier than usual.

The final report of the day comes from our friends at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia with the release of the Philly Fed Survey.  This survey lets market participants know the strength of manufacturing around the Philadelphia region. Last month’s survey improved by a large margin moving from -22.6 to -2.2 which was the best reading since September of 2008 and far exceeded estimates. Readings below 0 indicate that business conditions are contracting while readings above 0 indicate expansion. Economists surveyed for this month’s survey were expecting a slight decline to -5.0. The survey in fact showed business conditions in the region contracting more than expected at a -7.5 read. Following the release, both MBS and treasuries moved to their best price of the day.

So far today, the fixed income sector is trying to rebound from the beating they took yesterday. Currently, the benchmark 10 year treasury note is rallying and is currently trading at a yield of 3.51 after closing yesterday at 3.63. MBS are moving higher in price as well and are currently recapturing over half of yesterday’s losses.  Since MBS are moving higher, if you are currently floating continue to do so until later today. This will allow time for lenders to pass along the improvements, but things can change very quickly so we must remain defensive. You can check MBS prices by clicking over to Mortgage News Daily’s Mortgage Rates page.

Reports from fellow mortgage professionals are indicating that the par 30 year fixed rate conventional loan is in the 5.125% to 5.375% range for the best qualified consumers. If you are securing government financing, FHA or VA, expect your rate to be about .25% higher.   The sell off yesterday in MBS should have resulted in higher mortgage rates this morning; however, there are two things helping rates.  First, AQ informs me that most lenders locked in their pipelines in early July at the highs of MBS price which allows them to pass along pricing based on last week’s MBS price.  Secondly, the move higher in interest rates last month has lessened the supply of mortgage applications for lenders to underwrite.  How can a lender encourage more loan applications to be submitted?  That’s right, offer better pricing.