Author Archives: Kevin

HOLIDAY SPENDING WITHOUT AN EXTRA CENT

Time is a precious commodity, but it’s even more treasured because it is
fleeting. As soon as a day, an hour, or even a minute passes, it is gone
forever.

While that might be stating the obvious, it’s an important concept to reflect
on during the often-hectic holiday season. So this holiday season – regardless
of which holiday you celebrate or if you celebrate any – remember to focus on
and spend time with the people around you, including family, friends, and even
coworkers or clients.

When TV personality and kid expert Art Linkletter was asked about the idea of
spending time with loved ones this is what he said:

“I once asked a five-year-old what he would take with him if he were going to
Heaven. He replied, ‘I would take my parents because I think that up there they
would have more time with me’… nuff said.”

The good news is, it’s actually possible to slow time down in a way that
seems to lengthen special events like a day of fishing with your child or a
special dinner with a good friend. The key is to consciously honor the person
and the event as you experience it. To be in the moment.

 

In the days and weeks ahead, remember to recognize the people you care about.
You don’t need to do or say anything specific, nor do you need to spend any
money. You simply need to spend time with them. So consider setting aside two
hours one day for coffee with a friend. Or if you have children, make special
plans to take each one out individually for their own dinner. You can even set
aside a short amount of time each day to call some of your special clients to
see how they’re doing and personally wish them a happy holiday. And when you do,
avoid distractions like technology or worries about what else you need to do
that day.

After all, once the moment passes, you can go back to that checklist of
things to do. But you can never go back to that moment in time.

Economic Calendar for the Week of December 05 – December

Date
ET
Economic Report
For
Estimate
Actual
Prior
Impact
Mon. December 05
10:00
ISM Services Index
Nov
53.4
 
52.9
Moderate
Thu. December 08
08:30
Jobless Claims (Initial)
12/3
395K
 
402K
Moderate
Fri. December 09
10:00
Consumer Sentiment Index (UoM)
Dec
65.0
 
64.1
Moderate

SLOW AND STEADY WINS!

It’s been said that “slow and steady wins the race.” And
when it comes to the Jobs Report for November, it seems that the labor market
continues to improve at a gradual pace. Read on for the details…and what they
mean for home loan rates.


There was good news, as the headline number for job creations in November came
in at 120,000, with 140,000 private jobs offsetting government losses. What’s
more, some upward revisions to the two previous readings added 72,000 more jobs
than had been reported.

Perhaps even more important, Hourly Earnings grew by just 0.1% – a number
that suggests no threat of wage-based inflation. Remember, inflation is the arch
enemy of Bonds and home loan rates because when inflation rises, investors in
Bonds demand a higher yield to offset the lost buying power inflation imposes on
a fixed payment. And as home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds, this would
mean home loan rates move higher. So the Hourly Earnings number was good news
for Bonds and home loan rates.

Catching the markets by surprise was a rather sharp decline in the
unemployment rate to 8.6%, the lowest unemployment rate we’ve since March of
2009. While this is good news on the one hand, part of the decline stems from
the fact that 315,000 people were removed from the workforce because they
totally gave up looking for work. And with 13.3 million Americans still out of
work, more improvement is certainly needed here.

Similarly, the labor participation rate (which is currently hovering at a
30-year low at 64) needs to move above 66 or it will be difficult for the
economy to grow fast enough to lower our budget deficit. In fact, last week Bond
ratings firm Fitch issued a stern warning to the US, saying that our AAA rating
will be in jeopardy if we don’t soon do something to rein in our own
ever-growing budget deficit.

 

It is good news that we’re seeing some slow and steady improvement in
the labor market…and coupling this with other recent positive economic signals,
means we are not near a recession at the moment. 
But our economic health
remains fragile, and any external shock from Europe could easily disrupt the
economic improvement we are seeing.

The bottom line is that the uncertainty out of Europe – and the prospect of
additional Mortgage Bond buying (QE3) from the Fed – should continue to support
Bonds and home loan rates as they will benefit from investors looking for a safe
haven for their money. However, it is also unlikely that Bonds and home loan
rates will improve much further. Inflation, while not yet a problem, is still
elevated…and if it continues to creep higher, this will limit any improvement

 

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