MMG WeeklyForecast for the Week

After last week’s full economic calendar, only one report is ahead.

  • Weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be reported on Thursday. Last week, jobless claims fell to 324,000. This was below expectations and the lowest number since January 2008.

In addition, the Treasury will be auctioning $72 billion in Notes and Bonds Tuesday through Thursday and this could impact the markets.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond that home loan rates are based on.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving — and when they are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further — a red “candle” means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green “candle” means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes were on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Bonds and home loan rates reached 2013 best levels before the better-than-expected Jobs Report came in on Friday. I’ll continue to watch their movement closely.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.0% Mortgage Bond (Friday May 03, 2013)

Japanese Candlestick Chart

The Mortgage Market Guide View…

Beware of a New Utility Bill Scam

Con artists are urging people to use prepaid debit cards to make payments.

By Cameron Huddleston,

The Better Business Bureau says that a new utility bill scam is popping up throughout the U.S. and Canada. And it involves an approach to get people to part with their money that’s been growing in popularity over the past couple of years: prepaid debit cards.

The BBB reports that scammers are calling people and claiming to work for a local electric, water or gas company. The callers tell people that they’re late on a utility bill and that their service will be cut off if they don’t pay immediately. Then they instruct people to purchase a prepaid debit card to pay their bill and call them back with the card number. Thieves then drain the value from the card.

Scammers have turned to prepaid debit cards recently because wire transfer services have increased their fraud detection systems — making it more difficult for them to use this once-popular method of stealing money from people. Scammers also like prepaid debit cards because they don’t have to show a photo ID to collect or spend money on the cards.

For help spotting a utility scam, the BBB offers these tips:

— It’s a red flag if you are asked to pay by prepaid debit card. Utility companies usually accept a check or credit card. If you pay with a prepaid debit card, the transaction cannot be reversed, according to the BBB.

 — Watch out for high-pressure tactics, such as threats to cut off your service unless you make an immediate payment. End the call then call the customer service number on your utility bill to ensure that you speak with a real representative.

— If someone comes to your home claiming to be from your utility company, ask for identification. Do not let the person in your home if you did not schedule a service appointment. Call the utility company to confirm that it sent someone to your home.

Also, a utility bill scam that began last year has resurfaced. Utility companies in several states, including Kentucky and Tennessee, have received reports from customers who have received calls claiming that the federal government will help pay their electric bills. Learn more about this utility bill scam and how to avoid it.

Reprinted with permission. All Contents ©2013 The Kiplinger Washington Editors.

Economic Calendar for the Week of May 06 – May 10

Economic Report
Thu. May 09
Jobless Claims (Initial)

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