Daily Market Update 2/29/12

Mortgage rates faced upward pressure Wednesday following comments by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.  In prepared testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, Bernanke said the recent rise in gasoline prices “is likely to push up inflation temporarily”, although he indicated that monetary stimulus by the Fed remains warranted, and that inflation is likely to “remain subdued” in the longer term.  In economic news, fourth quarter GDP was revised higher to 3.0% from 2.8%.  The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index jumped to 64.0, beating forecast.  The Mortgage Bankers Association weekly purchase activity index rose 8.2%, while the refinancing activity index fell by 2.2%.  Average reported 30-year fixed rates declined to 4.07%, not including fees.  The Beige Book, a survey of economic activity by the Fed’s 12 regional banks, will be released at 2:00 PM.

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