From Stuart Crawford at V.I.P. Mortgage:
"The economic news last week contained few surprises. The major data, the Retail Sales report and third quarter Eurozone Gross Domestic Product (GDP), came in very close to expectations. As a result, mortgage rates ended the week with little change.
Another report released has been gaining in prominence since Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that she watches it closely as a labor market indicator. This report, called JOLTS, measures job openings and labor turnover rates. The data showed that job openings in September remained near the 13-year high reached in August.
Another component of the report measures the rate at which employees voluntarily leave their jobs, and this "quit rate" rose from 1.8% to 2.0%, which was the highest level since April 2008. A higher quit rate is viewed as a sign of a stronger labor market, since employees generally are less likely to quit a job if they are not reasonably confident that they can get a new job. Taken together, the strong readings for job openings and quit rates point to continued improvement in the labor market.
The situation in Ukraine has faded from the headlines in recent weeks, but attention returned to the area this week. Officials from Ukraine claimed that Russia has been sending an increasing number of tanks and other military supplies into Ukraine, contributing to greater violence in the regions controlled by the rebels. Russian officials have continued to deny doing this. As outside observers seek to discover more information, this latest news has had little lasting influence on mortgage markets so far, but it serves as a reminder that geopolitical concerns could become a factor at any time. If the conflict in Ukraine escalates, it could cause investors to shift to safer assets, which would be favorable for bonds and interest rates. Conversely, an easing of tensions would have the opposite effect.
This week, the most highly anticipated economic release will be the FOMC Minutes from the October 29th Fed meeting. These detailed Minutes provide additional insight into the debate between Fed officials. In real estate, the home builder housing index, housing starts, and existing home sales will be released this week."
Stuart can be reached at 602.710.8975