Markets & Economy

Mortgage lenders still locking rates and closing — for now

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

Credit markets are paralyzed by the shutdown, unable to handicap its outcome, whistling past the graveyard. Mortgages are holding near 4.5 percent and the 10-year T-note 2.6 percent. Rates might fall if the stock market dives -- those people will trade without any information -- and rates will rise when the shutdown clears. The bond market trades on economic data, and crucial reports are now suspended. The most important one in any month is payroll data due the first Friday of each month, September data due today. We have no idea when we will know what happened. Which raises important questions of epistemology and metaphysics. If we don't get reports from September, did it happen? The only private-source data to make it around the Teapot barricades: the twin ISM surveys for September. Manufacturing was forecast to cool off from August's healthy 55.7 but rose to 56.2. The service sector was also supposed to slip from its 58.6, but overdid it to 54.4 -- on net, no clarity. ...