Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Market Commentary

Updated on April 1, 2020 10:28:34 AM EDT

March’s ADP Employment report was posted at 8:15 AM ET this morning, revealing a somewhat surprising decline of 27,000 private-sector jobs during the month. The surprise came in the size of the decline, not that there was a decline. Forecasts were calling for approximately 175,000 lost jobs in the private sector, meaning today’s report showed the pandemic did not have as much of an impact as expected. Sure, this number is subject to revision- especially during a period with so much turmoil. But we have to consider one of the first reports covering the coronavirus period as unfavorable for mortgage rates because it indicates a lighter impact on this part of the economy than many had thought.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) gave us their manufacturing index for March at 10:00 AM ET this morning. They announced a reading of 49.1 that was also a decline from the previous reading but was also much higher than expectations. Forecasts were calling for a reading in the neighborhood of 44.0, meaning that while manufacturer sentiment slipped last month, it didn’t weaken as much as thought. Even though this is normally a major economic release for the markets and this version covers part of March, we have not seen much of a reaction to the release.

Tomorrow has one minor monthly economic report along with last week’s unemployment figures that was irrelevant until just a couple weeks ago. The first release of the day will be last week’s unemployment figures. After last week’s news of a record shattering number of new claims for benefits the previous week, traders will be looking to this report to give us a “current” snapshot of the employment sector. Another large number of claims is expected, but forecasts vary by a wide margin. The larger the number new claims, the better the news it is for bonds and mortgage rates- particularly because this data is so fresh.

The monthly release will be February’s Factory Orders report that tracks new orders at U.S. factories for both durable and non-durable goods before the coronavirus. Last week’s Durable Goods Orders release gave us a good part of this data already, so don’t expect to see much of a reaction in the markets.

 ©Mortgage Commentary 2020