Daily Market Update 2/18/10

Mortgage rates inched higher Thursday as the January Producer Price Index rose 1.4%, much more than expected. The closely watched “core” rate, which excludes volatile food and energy components, rose a more moderate 0.3% last month and 1.0% from one year ago. Weekly Jobless Claims jumped to 473,000, well above forecast. Yesterday, Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser suggested that the Fed should begin selling its mortgage-backed securities (MBS) portfolio “sooner rather than later”. Also, detailed minutes from the January 27 Fed meeting revealed that several Fed officials favored starting the sale of the Fed’s MBS portfolio “in the near future”. Analysts expect mortgage rates to move higher when the Fed begins selling, rather than buying, mortgage-backed securities.

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