- January 22, 2008
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The Fed cut .75% in an emergency move this morning. From Bloomberg:
The Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark interest rate in an emergency move for the first time since 2001 after tumbling global stock markets and a jump in U.S. unemployment threatened to push the economy into recession.
The central bank lowered the benchmark overnight lending rate to 3.5 percent from 4.25 percent, the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement in Washington. Policy makers weren’t scheduled to gather on rates until Jan. 29-30.
“While strains in short-term funding markets have eased somewhat, broader financial market conditions have continued to deteriorate,” the Fed said in a statement in Washington. The FOMC took the action “in view of a weakening of the economic outlook and increasing downside risks to growth.”
Policy makers set aside concerns about inflation to lower borrowing costs for the fourth time since September after unemployment hit a two-year high and U.S. stocks slumped. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke shifted the Fed’s stance to a more- aggressive approach in remarks this month citing a need for “decisive and timely” action.
We think this will be positive for mortgage bonds and rates. We currently recommend that mortgage applicants lock ONLY purchase loans that are closing in 15 days or less and that all others float the mortgage rate. No change. Expect the 30 year fixed rate to drop below 5.5% this week.