The Real Meaning of Holidays: The Weekly Market Update



We rarely get to publish on Halloween (technically once every seven years) and thus we could not resist the headline. There are many theories about the origins of Halloween and evidence of somewhat similar practices go back as far as the Middle Ages. Like other holidays in the United States, Halloween has evolved and grown and become a big commercial — or dare we say “sweet” — success. For some it is the real start of the holiday season in which our economy has grown so dependent upon.

Like every jobs report, every holiday season is a very important indicator of the direction of our economy. Consumer spending makes up about 70 percent of gross domestic product, and a solid chunk of it takes place in November and December, mainly in the form of gift purchases. A fifth of all retail sales occur in the year’s last two months, according to the National Retail Federation. Thus, these holidays are very, very important to our economy.

Speaking of the jobs report, the time has come for another reading. Last month the numbers were skewed as expected because of two major hurricanes. During this month’s statistical period we added another major hurricane and also devastating wildfires in Northern California. Thus, we are expecting major volatility in the numbers. This volatility may not only apply to the October numbers, but also to the revision of the September numbers already released. It will be hard for the markets to interpret these numbers, and therefore reactions may be muted as well.

The Weekly Market Update

Rates were up across the board in the past week, with 30-year fixed rates approaching the 4.0% mark. For the week ending October 26, Freddie Mac announced that 30-year fixed rates rose to 3.94% from 3.88% the week before. The average for 15-year loans rose as well, to 3.25%. The average for five-year adjustables increased to 3.21%. A year ago, 30-year fixed rates averaged 3.47%.

Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac -- "The 10-year Treasury yield surged this week, jumping 12 basis points. The 30-year fixed rate followed suit, increasing 6 basis points to 3.94 percent. Today's survey rate is the highest rate in three months."

Note: Rates indicated do not include fees and points and are provided for evidence of trends only. They should not be used for comparison purposes.