Mortgage Market News for the week ending June 6, 2014

Ahead of two major economic events, mortgage rates moved higher early in the week. When there were few surprises in either the Employment report or the ECB announcement, though, mortgage rates recovered some of their losses and ended the week just a little higher. This was the first weekly increase in rates in six weeks.

After slowing over the winter due to unusually severe weather, the economy has seen job gains above 200K over the last several months. This was the first time in 14 years that job gains exceeded 200K for four straight months. Against a consensus forecast of 210K, the economy added 217K jobs in May. The Unemployment Rate was flat at 6.3%. Average Hourly Earnings, a proxy for wage growth, were a moderate 2.1% higher than one year ago. The May Employment data was right on target with the forecasts in nearly every area.

The European Central Bank (ECB) took a middle of the road approach in easing its monetary policy. After weeks of hinting that further monetary stimulus is needed to boost economic growth, ECB officials announced a rate cut on Thursday. They also will implement measures to encourage bank lending. Investors were most interested in hearing about a bond purchase program, but ECB President Draghi essentially just suggested that they were holding this key option in reserve to use in the future if necessary. The ECB stimulus did cause bond yields around the world to move a little lower.



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