Key influences that affected mortgage rates last week:
- No significant surprises in January Federal Reserve meeting minutes.
- Investor concern at hawkish comments by Federal Reserve officials since January meeting.
- Employment report and core inflation reading both stronger than expected.
- Congress spending bill passed - larger than anticipated.
- January homes sales 3% down, compared with December and 5% lower than a year ago (largest rate of decline since 2014).
- Lack of inventory cited as primary cause of home sales weakness (10% lower in a year-on-year comparison).
What to look for this week:
- Durable orders data released on Tuesday.
- First speech of Jerome Powell, new Federal Reserve chair, on Wednesday.
- Second estimate of fourth quarter GDP due on Wednesday.
- Core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, a key inflation indicator, published on Thursday.
- National Manufacturing Index stats on Friday,