Also, today's February existing home sales report is expected to show a decline of -1.2% to 4.99 million, which would be the third consecutive decline.
U.S. Treasuries are relatively unchanged this morning. Key events this week will include the $118 billion Treasury auctions along with testimony by Fed Chairman Bernanke on Thursday.
U.S. Treasuries and mortgage bonds traded lower yesterday after the initial jobless claims report dropped again and Philadelphia Fed report showed that manufacturing expanded more than expected in that region.
Yesterday's FOMC minutes maintained the "exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period." The FOMC also reiterated the MBS purchase program is "nearing completion and the remaining transactions will be executed by the end of this month."
The Fed is also expected to keep the "exceptionally low" rates statement for an "extended period." The February Housing Starts report showed that both housing starts and building permits fell month over month.
The bond market is relatively unchanged this morning from Friday's closing prices. The market will be focusing on tomorrow's FOMC meeting, where the Fed is expected to keep rates unchanged.
Despite the high unemployment rate - people are buying more. The retail sales report released by the Commerce Department today showed that sales actually rose 0.3% from January. These figures are seasonally adjusted, and when you take car and auto part sales out of the equation, the increase is actually 0.8% for month over month and 4.2% higher than the previous year.
All three of the Treasury auctions this week were successful. Yesterday's 30-year auction was met with strong demand. The week finishes up with key economic reports on retail sales, consumer confidence, and business inventories.
While Quicken Loans provides the personable customer service similar to that of your local family-owned shops, we are proud to say that 2009 was a record breaking year with $25 billion in originated loans last year.
The weekly jobless claims were released this morning. Initial claims were expected to be lower at 460,000 compared to 469,000 the previous week.