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Looking Back And Looking Ahead : September 2, 2008

2008
09.02

For the first time in 4 weeks, mortgage rates closing a week lower than where they opened it

Markets shrugged off uncertainty about Hurricane Gustav and chose to rally on the backs of strong economic data.

Overall, rates were down by about 0.125 percent, or $96 per year per $100,000 borrowed.

Markets were influenced by a handful of positive news last week — two pieces of housing data gave markets reason to celebrate, as did an upbeat consumer confidence survey.

In addition, equally-important-but-less-well-known data from last week points to similar conclusions — the U.S. economy may be on more solid footing than many people had believed.

This week, markets re-open Tuesday after being closed for Labor Day. Early in the week, there isn’t much data for markets to digest so expect oil markets to take center stage.

First, markets will gauge the damage that Hurricane Gustav caused to oil and natural gas pipelines that dot the Gulf of Mexico shorelines. Then, it will project the damages based on the projected paths of the next storms, Hanna and Ike.

Typically, more damages means higher oil prices and that can lead to higher mortgage rates long-term.

By Friday, though, markets will shift attention to the jobs report.

American businesses have shed jobs in each of the last 8 months, and August is expected to show the same. The jobs report’s influence on mortgage rates can be enormous so expect big rate swings Friday, either up or down.

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