Thursday, May 17, 2012

Misc: Record Low Mortgage Rates, Spanish Banks downgraded, and more

by Bill McBride on 5/17/2012 11:08:00 PM

The only economic release schedule for Friday is the State Employment and Unemployment report for April.

• From Freddie Mac: Fixed Mortgage Rates Hit Record Lows Again

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates again hitting new record lows. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 3.79 percent continues to remain well below 4 percent and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages are also slightly down at 3.04 percent.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.79 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending May 17, 2012, down from last week when it averaged 3.83 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.61 percent.
• From the WSJ: Ten-Year Treasury Yield Near Record Low
The benchmark note gained 18/32 in price by late-afternoon trading to yield 1.702% after sinking as far as 1.692%. The record low of 1.672% was matched in September and originally set in February 1946. Based on a 3 p.m. EDT finish, 1.702% would be the lowest yield ever to round out a session.
• From the Financial Times: Spain moves to calm bank fears
Moody’s downgraded 16 Spanish banks, with three-notch cuts for the “Big Three” lenders – Santander, BBVA and La Caixa – and three small institutions left in “junk” territory, though the agency made no mention of Bankia.

It said the downgrades were prompted primarily by the deteriorating Spanish economy and the reduced credit-worthiness of the government.
Excerpt with permission
Earlier in the day there were unfounded rumors of a bank run in Spain.

• The Asian markets are all red tonight. From MarketWatch: Asia stocks tumble as Spain joins list of fears
Japan’s Nikkei Stock fell 2.1%, South Korea’s Kopsi dropped 2.7%, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index skidded 2.1%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 2%, and the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.7%.