Daily Market Update 3/16/11

Rates were little changed Wednesday as mortgage-backed securities held onto yesterday’s gains. In economic news, February Housing Starts declined 23% from January to the lowest level in nearly two years. Building Permits, a leading indicator, fell 8% to a record low annual rate of 517,000 units. The Producer Price Index (PPI) jumped 1.6% in February, far above the consensus forecast. Core PPI, which excludes volatile food and energy components, rose a tame 0.2% from January and was 1.8% higher than one year ago. The Mortgage Bankers Association weekly purchase activity index declined by 4%, while the refinancing activity index rose by 1%. Average reported 30-year fixed rates fell to 4.79%, not including fees. No other data will be released today.

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