Mortgage rates ended higher last week on stronger-than-expected jobs data, strong consumer spending, and an appetite for riskier investments.
But, investors were most excited about the Federal Reserve's hint that its rate-cutting cycle may be over.
The week was quiet until Wednesday when the Federal Reserve voted to lower the Fed Funds Rate by a quarter-percent.
The rate cut wasn't the big news, however.
Market players were most interested in Fed's press release in which it confirmed that the economy is struggling, but improving. The remarks were both soothing and a strong contrast to the Alarmist Analysts -- the ones that make for better television than analysis sometimes.
The Fed's statement also forced investors to rethink their economic outlook for the short- and long-term and when investors change their outlook, markets can be volatile.
One of the more important shifts in thinking now is the attitude towards the U.S. Dollar. An improving economy tends to be good for the dollar and that can help lead to lower mortgage rates.
The dollar's gains last week, incidentally, helped lower gas prices nationwide for the first time in almost 3 weeks. In the 18 days leading up to Friday, gas prices had made 18 consecutive record-highs.
This week, with very little new data and with few companies reporting earnings, expect market momentum to determine in which direction mortgage rates will go.
Because momentum can change quickly, be prepared to lock your mortgage rate if you see one that fits your budget -- it may not last long.
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