Morning Report: The Fed maintains current interest rate policy

Vital Statistics:

 

Last Change
S&P futures 3140 -3.25
Oil (WTI) 58.90 -0.14
10 year government bond yield 1.79%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 3.97%

 

Stocks are flattish after the Fed maintained interest rates yesterday. Bonds and MBS are up.

 

The Fed maintained the Fed Funds rate at current levels and gave a generally upbeat assessment on the economy. The FOMC took down their future unemployment estimates by .2% and left all other projections unchanged. The biggest revelation was the dot plot, which was a bit more dovish than the September plot, but is still forecasting the possibility of a hike in 2020, along with no forecasts for a rate cut.

 

Dec dot plot

 

The Fed Funds futures, which have been (a) more dovish than the Fed’s dot plots and (b) more correct, went from forecasting a 50% chance of a cut in 2020 to a 70% chance of a cut. The bond market adjusted as well, with the 10 year bond yield falling about 4 basis points in the afternoon.

 

The Producer Price Index (PPI) was unchanged in November, and up 1.1% on a year-over-year basis. The PPI measures inflation at the wholesale level, and is a companion inflation index to the Consumer price index. Ex-food and energy, the index fell in November and was up 1.3% YOY.

 

Initial Jobless Claims jumped to 252,000 last week. This is a huge jump, and I am not sure what drove it. We have been hanging around in the low $200,000s for quite some time. FWIW, this jump in new jobless doesn’t necessarily comport with the other labor market indicators out there, but it is less of a lagging indicator than the others.

Morning Report: No progress on shutdown

Vital Statistics:

 

Last Change
S&P futures 2528.75 -3
Eurostoxx index 341.85 -1.49
Oil (WTI) 49.18 1.22
10 year government bond yield 2.65%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 4.43%

 

Stocks are flattish on no real news. Bonds and MBS are down small.

 

No progress was made over the weekend with respect to re-opening the government. Trump mentioned the possibility of declaring a national emergency in order to obtain funding for the wall without Congressional approval.

 

The drop in rates over the past month has caused an increase in activity in what is typically a dead part of the year. Falling interest rates have lured some buyers back into the market who are looking to take advantage of the decline before they move up again. FTN Financial estimates that if we get another 20 basis point drop in the 30 year fixed rate mortgage, 300 billion conforming loans will become in the money and refinanceable. With the Fed Funds futures predicting the next Fed move will be a rate cut, that is in the realm of possibility.

 

Friday’s jobs report showed an increase of 300k jobs, yet the unemployment rate rose from 3.7% to 3.9%. Does that make sense? It does if you get deep in the weeds on how the BLS calculates these numbers.

 

New York State is legendary for how long a delinquent borrower can live in their house without paying the mortgage. Some have been there for almost a decade.