Mar

16

Last Week in Review

“IF WE HAD NO WINTER…THE SPRING WOULD NOT BE SO PLEASANT.” 17th-Century poet Anne Bradstreet’s words ring true not only for the seasons, but also for last week’s Retail Sales numbers. Just days before Sunday’s “spring forward” into Daylight Savings Time, the retail sector looked to be unfreezing and showing at least a little spring in its step.

As you can see in the chart below, Retail Sales for February were reported last Friday at 0.3%, which was better than the previous month’s reading and much better than the -0.2% expected. Despite the good news, however, we need to keep in mind that it will be subject to future revisions – just like we saw in Friday’s report, in which last month’s decent 0.5% reading was revised sharply lower to just 0.1%.

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Chart: Retail Sales (Month-Over-Month)

The better-than-expected Retail Sales was good news for the economy, but it could also lead to inflation trouble ahead. Remember, inflation is the archenemy of Bonds. Just last week, fears of inflation in China pressured Bonds around the globe. And here in the US, a number of Fed members have already mentioned inflation as an increasing concern.

And it isn’t just Fed officials who have been warning against inflation; investors around the globe are having increased doubts. Massive debt and massive balance sheet expansion – combined with near zero interest rates for a long period of time – will no doubt conjure a recipe for inflation.

The question is this: Once inflation rears its ugly head…will the Fed have the courage and the will to kill the monster by tightening policy, amidst enormous political pressure not to do so? As you’ll see in the Forecast section below, the next Fed meeting is taking place this week, and the Policy Statement released on Tuesday will garner intense scrutiny.

WHILE THE ECONOMY HAS BEEN SHOWING SOME SIGNS OF RECOVERY LATELY, MANY FOLKS STILL NEED HELP IMPROVING THEIR OWN FINANCIAL PICTURES. CHECK OUT THE MORTGAGE MARKET GUIDE VIEW ARTICLE BELOW FOR A VIDEO FEATURING FIVE WAYS TO GET OUT DEBT FASTER.

Forecast for the Week

There’s a lot of news on tap for this week, starting off right away Monday with the Empire State Index, Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization. These reports will give us a look at the manufacturing sector – and any bad news could certainly shake up the markets.

We’ll also see an update on the health of the new construction sector of the housing market, with reports on Building Permits and Housing Starts coming on Tuesday.

Perhaps the biggest news of the week will be the inflation news carried in the Producer Price Index on Wednesday and the Consumer Price Index on Thursday. As stated above and in the chart below, hints of inflation fears have the potential to negatively impact the markets – and can quickly drive Bond prices lower and home loan rates higher. The news from these reports will be even more interesting, since they come just after the Fed’s Monetary Policy and Fed Funds Rate decision on Tuesday…and many members of the Fed have lately been expressing their growing concerns about inflation. The Policy Statement following the Fed meeting is always dissected carefully – but with the rising fears of the inflation genie escaping the bottle, this Statement takes on even more significance.

Remember: Overall, weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result.

As you can see in the chart below, inflation fears pushed Mortgage Bonds below two key technical levels last week…and those levels now may become “ceilings of resistance” for Bonds, making it harder for them to improve.

Chart: Fannie Mae 4.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Mar 12, 2010)

The Mortgage Market View…

5 Ways to Get Out of Debt Faster

Making smart choices with your money is always a good idea, but it’s especially important if you are working to become debt free. Check out this video from www.Kiplinger.com for 5 ways to get out of debt faster.

The Week’s Economic Indicator Calendar

Remember, as a general rule, weaker than expected economic data is good for rates, while positive data causes rates to rise.
Economic Calendar for the Week of March 15 – March 19
Date ET Economic Report For Estimate Actual Prior Impact
Mon. March 15 08:30 Empire State Index Mar 23.45 24.91 Moderate
Mon. March 15 09:15 Capacity Utilization Feb 72.3% 72.6% Moderate
Mon. March 15 09:15 Industrial Production Feb 0.0% 0.9% Moderate
Tue. March 16 08:30 Building Permits Feb 602K 622K Moderate
Tue. March 16 08:30 Housing Starts Feb 570K 591K Moderate
Tue. March 16 02:15 FOMC Meeting .25% .25% HIGH
Wed. March 17 10:30 Crude Inventories 3/13 NA 1.43M Moderate
Wed. March 17 08:30 Producer Price Index (PPI) Feb -0.2% 1.4% Moderate
Wed. March 17 08:30 Core Producer Price Index (PPI) Feb 0.1% 0.3% Moderate
Thu. March 18 08:30 Core Consumer Price Index (CPI) Feb 0.1% 0.2% HIGH
Thu. March 18 08:15 Consumer Price Index (CPI) Feb 0.1% 0.2% Moderate
Thu. March 18 08:30 Jobless Claims (Initial) 3/13 450K 462K Moderate
Thu. March 18 10:00 Index of Leading Econ Ind (LEI) Feb 0.2% 0.3% Low
Thu. March 18 10:00 Philadelphia Fed Index Mar 18.0 17.6 HIGH

The material contained in this newsletter is provided by a third party to real estate, financial services and other professionals only for their use and the use of their clients. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, we do not make any representations as to its accuracy or completeness and as a result, there is no guarantee it is not without errors.
As your trusted advisor, I am sending you the MMG WEEKLY because I am committed to keeping you updated on the economic events that impact interest rates and how they may affect you.
In the unlikely event that you no longer wish to receive these valuable market updates, please USE THIS LINK or email: curtis@kcmortgageplanner.com
If you prefer to send your removal request by mail the address is:

Mortgage Success Source, LLC is the copyright owner or licensee of the content and/or information in this email, unless otherwise indicated. Mortgage Success Source, LLC does not grant to you a license to any content, features or materials in this email. You may not distribute, download, or save a copy of any of the content or screens except as otherwise provided in our Terms and Conditions of Membership, for any purpose.

Curtis Schartz, Certified Mortgage Planner for Pulaski Bank Home Lending, Overland Park, Kansas City, Leawood, Lees Summit, Lenexa, Olathe, Shawnee, Blue Springs, Liberty, Parkville, Gladstone, Independence.

Mar

8

Last Week in Review

“WORKIN’ NINE TO FIVE – WHAT A WAY TO MAKE A LIVIN’…” Dolly Parton. But full time employment is nothing to gripe about these days – last week’s Jobs Report showed that there are millions of people who would love to be working full time…or even working at all. The labor market continues to struggle, though it has shown improvement from its worst levels.

As you can see in the chart below, the Jobs Report for February showed 36,000 jobs lost in February, which was better than the 68,000+ job losses that were expected. Adding to the positive tone of the report were upward revisions to the prior two month’s reports showing 35,000 fewer jobs lost. However – helping the numbers were 15,000 temporary census worker hires made by the government. Without these, actual job losses would have exceeded 50,000 for February.

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Chart: Nonfarm Payrolls

Additionally, the Unemployment Rate remained at 9.7%, better than expectations of a rise to 9.8%. But a deeper look beyond the headlines of the report showed what many consider to be the Real Unemployment Rate to be at 16.8%, a rise from last month’s 16.5%.

This rate includes both discouraged workers – those who are no longer seeking work at this time – and those who are working part-time that would rather be “workin’ nine to five” with full time employment, but are forced to accept part time out of necessity to earn whatever they can. And just last month, another nearly 500,000 people accepted part time work, citing economic reasons for doing so.

In related news, Productivity rose by 6.9% during the Fourth quarter of 2009, up from the previous reading of 6.2%. This is an encouraging report, because during an economic recovery, it is normal to see a pick up in productivity before seeing fresh job creations. Think about it – companies may start to see their business pick up, but before making the commitment of hiring new workers, they will squeeze more productivity out of their present staff. Job creations may be coming – but it appears that the labor market recovery will be slow going.

Bonds attempted to rally through the week, but ultimately, improvements in Stocks and positive economic news caused Bonds and home loan rates to end the week around the same levels as where they began.

ALERT! Two important deadlines are on the horizon: the Fed will stop buying Mortgage Backed Securities at the end of March (which means home loan rates may soon be on the rise), and the Homebuyer’s Tax Credit is due to expire on April 30. If you or any of your friends, family members, neighbors or colleagues want to learn more about how you can benefit from the current situation, give me a call or email – I’d be happy to explain more about the opportunity at hand.

WHILE THE LABOR MARKET HAS BEEN STRUGGLING FOR AWHILE, THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT CERTAIN CAREER PATHS ARE DEFINITELY ON THE RISE! CHECK OUT THIS WEEK’S MORTGAGE MARKET GUIDE VIEW FOR MORE DETAILS.

Forecast for the Week

It will be a quiet week when it comes to economic reports, but with the healthcare debate heating up in Washington and the Fed’s Mortgage Backed Securities Purchase program winding down, there are still plenty of events that could impact the markets and home loan rates.

On the economic report front, Thursday brings another Initial Jobless Claims Report. Last week’s Initial Jobless Claims met expectations, but the big news was that the report showed 5.7M people claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits, which was an increase of over 207,000 from the prior week.

On tap for Friday is the Retail Sales Report, and as the most-timely indicator of broad consumer spending patterns, it is important to see how the numbers come in. In fact, last week’s Personal Consumption Expenditure report revealed that during January, consumers made less, saved less and spent more – but it remains to be seen if the increase in spending will show up in the Retail Sales Data.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result.

As you can see in the chart below, Bonds made some improvements during the week, but the gains were capped by a rally in Stocks and positive economic data. I’ll be watching closely as always during the coming week – and please feel free to contact me anytime to learn more, or discuss your own financial and home loan situation.

Chart: Fannie Mae 4.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Mar 05, 2010)

The Mortgage Market View…

5 Careers You May Not Have Considered…But Perhaps Should!

In the wake of last week’s employment news, now is an ideal time to take a look at careers that are expected to grow in the coming months and years. Recently, US News & World Report released the results of its study on the Best Careers in 2010. The good news is there are a lot of jobs that are on the rise – including a number of careers that many people may not have considered.

If you or someone you know is looking to make a career move in today’s challenging work environment, here are 5 careers to consider.

Meeting Planner

Overview: Despite the economic downturn, companies still need to do business…and often that means bringing people together from around the country and the world. According to US News & World Report, the need for meeting planners is expected to grow 16% by 2018.

Education and training: To get a career as a meeting planner, you’ll probably need a bachelor’s degree. But the good news is that US News & World Report found that real-world experience “may be the most important factor in getting a job.”

Security System Installer

Overview: This job entails installing security and fire alarm systems. In addition to dealing with electronics, installers are also expected to deal with local building codes, blueprints, and even clients and homeowners. As US News & World Report stated, from 2008 to 2018, the opportunities in this field are expected to climb 25%.

Education and training: While some employers may want an associate’s degree or work experience, the good news is that a number of employers will train on the job. Candidates, of course, should have an interest and basic understanding of electronics.

Plumber

Overview: Think about it. Every home and every building needs a plumber when it’s built…not to mention down the road if water problems are encountered. Combine that with the fact that many of today’s plumbers will likely retire in the next 10 years, and it’s easy to see why this career is expected to grow more than 15% before 2018.

Education and training: If you’re interested in a career as a plumber, you have a few options. You can enroll in technical or community college – or look for employers who are willing to provide on-the-job training. Finally, you can enroll in an apprenticeship program that combines classroom and on-the-job training.

Firefighter

Overview: The good news is that the need for firefighters is expected to increase about 19% according to US News & World Report. The flip side is that there will probably be a lot of competition for those jobs, since the job provides stable work with a pension.

Education and training: If you’re in the right place at the right time, you can get a job as a firefighter with only a high school degree. But, with the competition mentioned above, you’ll have a better chance with additional training and education – such as an associate’s degree, EMT training, or a college degree.

Technical Writer

Overview: If you’ve ever read a how-to manual or operating instructions, you already have some idea of what technical writers do for a living. As you might imagine, the job requires you to understand and translate complex ideas and information. However, you may not have imagined that technical writing isn’t just limited to writing. Today’s technical writers often deal with graphic design, video, and multimedia software to communicate complex ideas. If these aspects sound good to you, this may be a field worth considering – especially with an expected job growth of 18% before 2018.

Education and training: For this job, you’ll need a college degree. But you don’t necessarily need a degree in journalism or technical writing (although, it would help). The reality is that technical writers can specialize in fields such as business, science, and engineering. So if you have a degree in one of those fields and if you’re good at communicating complex ideas, you may already be qualified. An interest and experience in multimedia software as well as a course or an online certificate in technical communication can help increase your chances of landing a job.

Those are just 5 of the jobs identified by US News & World Report as the best careers for 2010. If they don’t suit your interests, you may want to take a look at the entire list on the US News & World Report website. Then, take steps to transition to your new career.

The Week’s Economic Indicator Calendar

Remember, as a general rule, weaker than expected economic data is good for rates, while positive data causes rates to rise.
Economic Calendar for the Week of March 08 – March 12
Date ET Economic Report For Estimate Actual Prior Impact
Wed. March 10 10:30 Crude Inventories 3/6 NA 4.03M Moderate
Thu. March 11 08:30 Jobless Claims (Initial) 3/6 NA 469K Moderate
Thu. March 11 08:30 Balance of Trade Jan -$40.8B -$40.2B Moderate
Fri. March 12 08:30 Retail Sales Feb -0.1% 0.5% HIGH
Fri. March 12 08:30 Retail Sales ex-auto Feb 0.0% 0.6% HIGH
Fri. March 12 10:00 Consumer Sentiment Index (UoM) Mar 73.8 73.6 Moderate

The material contained in this newsletter is provided by a third party to real estate, financial services and other professionals only for their use and the use of their clients. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, we do not make any representations as to its accuracy or completeness and as a result, there is no guarantee it is not without errors.
As your trusted advisor, I am sending you the MMG WEEKLY because I am committed to keeping you updated on the economic events that impact interest rates and how they may affect you.
In the unlikely event that you no longer wish to receive these valuable market updates, please USE THIS LINK or email: curtis@kcmortgageplanner.com
If you prefer to send your removal request by mail the address is:

Mortgage Success Source, LLC is the copyright owner or licensee of the content and/or information in this email, unless otherwise indicated. Mortgage Success Source, LLC does not grant to you a license to any content, features or materials in this email. You may not distribute, download, or save a copy of any of the content or screens except as otherwise provided in our Terms and Conditions of Membership, for any purpose.

Curtis Schartz, Pulaski Bank Home Lending, Lees Summit, Overland Park, Kansas City, Olathe, Parkville, Liberty, Shawnee, Leawood, Lenexa.