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Hybrid Adjustable-rate Mortgage
post Dec 1 2011, 12:47 PM
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Daily Market Commentary for December 1, 2011

For the week ended December 1, the average rate on the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage fell to a record low of 2.90% from 2.91% in previous week which is the previous record low. (read more at Millennium-Traders.Com)

Labor Department reported today that the number of Americans who applied for jobless benefits over the past week rose above 400,000 again, an indication that the pace of hiring in the U.S. likely remains modest at best. Initial claims for unemployment compensation climbed by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 402,000, striking the highest level in a month. Applications from two weeks ago were revised up to 396,000 from an original reading of 393,000. Over the past four weeks, the average of new claims rose by 500 to 395,750 with the monthly average seen as a more accurate gauge of labor trends because it reduces volatility in the week-to-week data. Claims data directly reflects people who lose their jobs and the number of claims declines when hiring outpaces layoffs. Since late April claims have gradually fallen from a 2011 high of 478,000 to the 400,000 range however, the failure of jobless claims to drop faster suggests that companies remain very cautious about hiring new staff. Over the past year, the economy has added an average of 125,000 jobs each month but, that’s barely enough to keep up with natural growth in the labor force with the unemployment rate holding at 9.0%. The Labors Departments' weekly claims report showed that the number of Americans who continue to receive regular state unemployment checks increased by 35,000 to 3.74 million in the week ended November 19 with continuing claims reported with a one-week lag. Approximately 7.01 million people received some kind of state or federal benefit in the week ended November 12 which is up 276,832 from previous week - with total claims reported with a two-week lag.

The Institute for Supply Management reported that during November, the U.S. manufacturing sector saw a modest acceleration as production and new orders picked up. ISM manufacturing index rose to 52.7% in November from 50.8% in October. For nearly 28 straight months, the ISM gauge has been above the 50% threshold - indicating expansion. “Business is still holding its own,” said one purchasing manager in the chemical products industry. Another in electrical equipment said orders for the remaining two months have increased after an extended “summer dip.” “Respondents cite continuing concerns about the general economic environment, government regulations and European financial conditions, but are cautiously more optimistic about the next few months based on lower raw materials pricing and favorable levels of new orders,” said Bradley Holcomb, chair of the ISM, in a statement. Per the ISM, new orders gauge rose 4.3 points to 56.7% and the production gauge climbed 6.5 points to 56.6%. Features showing concerns: employment gauge slowed 1.7 points to 51.8% and supplier deliveries fell 1.4 points to 49.9%. Of the 18 industries measured, 9 industries reported contraction and 8 industries advanced. The two purchasing managers indexes measuring Chinese manufacturing both were below the 50% line. Australia, Austria, Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and the United Kingdom registered sub-50% readings while, gauge for India and Turkey showed slowing expansion.

Gerry Rice, an International Monetary Fund spokesman, reported that the IMF is not in formal or preliminary talks with Italy about providing financial support. "There are no discussions with the Italian authorities on any form of IMF financing," Rice told reporters at a briefing. The IMF is in preparation to send a mission to Italy to audit the country's debt-reduction efforts. On Monday December 5, the IMF executive board will meet to consider the release of a $10.8 billion aid payment to Greece which will be the sixth tranche of a $148.4 billion EU/IMF loan package to help Greece finance itself.

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