After a pretty rough conclusion last week, yesterday's stability was a welcome change for mortgage rates at the start of the new week. Today made things slightly better as the average lender improved modestly. This puts today's rate quotes back in line with those seen last Thursday afternoon.
More importantly, rates managed to hold their ground despite the presence of strong economic data this morning. Whether we're talking about the Fed or the average bond market investor, most everyone is intently focused on the economy at the moment--waiting to see if it will reaccelerate or begin to show signs of weakness. A strong economy generally puts upward pressure on rates and vice versa. Today was important because it broke that mold. Rates improved in the middle of the day even after the strong economic data. That indicates solid investor appetite for bonds (and bond market demand dictates interest rates).
Even though there was resilience in the face of strong data today, the market will only tolerate so many of those reports before rates will be forced to move higher. With that in mind, we're building toward a very important jobs report on Friday. This is always an incredibly important report as far as rates are concerned. With investors hungry for economic updates, there's a bigger-than-normal risk of volatility on Friday morning. As always, this could either take rates quickly higher OR lower.