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Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Four Reasons Why Facebook’s IPO is Irrelevant

Have you heard the latest rumor? Facebook could sell shares to the public in an IPO — valuing the social network from $75 billion to $100 billion — sometime between April and June. But there are four good reasons why this will be a non-event.

Even though I am not among its 800 million users, Facebook is profitable. It sells advertisements directed at those users and eMarketer estimates that between 2009 and 2011, Facebook’s revenues grew at a 127% annual rate to $3.8 billion in 2011 with operating profit of $1.5 billion, according to BusinessInsider.

So why is one of history’s biggest IPOs a non-event? Here are four reasons:

It’s grossly over-valued. On a price/sales basis, Facebook would trade at 19.7 — that’s 497% higher than Apple (APPL) at 3.3 and 294% above Google’s (GOOG) P/S of 5. And assuming Facebook shares Google’s net margin of 26%, Facebook’s P/E of 80 is far higher than Google’s 19 or Apple’s 12.7. This means that Facebook’s stock might not hold up after the first-day IPO pop — the same fate that greeted most of 2011′s tech IPOs.

It won’t unleash corporate capital spending. In 1995, Netscape’s IPO spurred a wave of corporate capital spending. That’s because the web browser made the Internet easier for people to use than it had been before. A wave of supporting industries ranging from web consultants to makers of Web infrastructure – that got their fingers into the corporate Internet investment pie, as I described in my 1998 book, Net Profit. Facebook is not doing that — its revenues represent a mere 1% of the world’s $507 billion in total ad spending and its IPO would not lead to a major change in the trajectory of corporate spend.

It doesn’t change much for Facebook insiders. Facebook’s investors and employees were able – until last week when trading there was halted – to sell their shares for cash on SharesPost, a secondary market. On January 26th, Facebook was valued at $73.4 billion there — a few billion below the estimated IPO range. Sure, an IPO required by topping 500 shareholders will add to Facebook the cost of running a public company — but beyond that, things there should not change much.

It won’t boost the overall venture financing market. If a Facebook IPO created a fever to invest in tech start-ups, it might be good for the venture capital industry. But since the IPO does not change much for Facebook investors, does not spur the growth of a range of related industries, does not unleash corporate investment, and might not even help out the IPO market, the after-effect of Facebook’s IPO could be modest.

It is popular in the media to compare the Facebook IPO to that of Google whose price has risen nicely since its 2004 IPO from $84 to $580. That 30% compound annual growth is good – but Google trades 19% below its 2007 peak of $715.

To be fair, there is a bit of good news for those hoping that Facebook stock will climb after it goes public. A quick look at Google’s 2004 prospectus reveals that its IPO price of $84 valued Google at a P/E of 80 – the same as Facebook’s estimated P/E (Google had 271 million shares and estimated 2004 net income of $286 million at the time of its August 2004 IPO).

That’s the only glimmer of good news for why Facebook’s IPO might breathe some life into the business of VCs and tech entrepreneurs. But Facebook’s inability to transform the way companies operate their business means that it will remain a niche phenomenon in the grander economic scheme.

Four Reasons Why Facebook’s IPO is IrrelevantFour Reasons Why Facebook’s IPO is Irrelevant

Megaupload data could be deleted starting Thursday

By Hayley Tsukayama

Now that federal officials are done with the data they wanted to review after shutting down file-sharing site Megaupload, the fate of that data is in limbo. Users who had legitimate files on the site — work documents, photos, home videos and more — may see that information deleted as soon as this week.

Federal officials have reportedly told two storage companies in Virginia — Carpathia Hosting and Cogent Communications — that they may begin deleting data Thursday, The Associated Press reported.

Megaupload had been contracting with the companies to store the information, but can no longer pay those contracts because its assets have been frozen.

Megaupload claimed to have 1 billion users and 50 million daily users before it was shut down, and many wondered what would happen to consumer data after the site’s seizure.

Ira Rothken, attorney for Megaupload, told the news service that at least 50 million customers could lose their files, but that he hopes that a deal can be reached to return the data to customers. He added that he hopes to use some of that data in Megaupload’s defense, as well.

“We’re cautiously optimistic at this point that because the United States, as well as Megaupload, should have a common desire to protect consumers, that this type of agreement will get done,” he said.

As Web sites come and go, so too could the information you entrust them with

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom will have to wait for bail decision

Mortgage Rates Sideways Ahead of Wednesdays Important Events

BY MATTHEW GRAHAM

Mortgages Rates are steady to slightly improved today after rising for the first time in a month yesterday. Although rates change slightly every day, those changes are usually small enough as to only effect the closing costs associated with a particular rate. Because of this, we track “Best-Execution” as the actual interest rate benchmark, and we talked about it in significant detail yesterday (READ MORE). So although we are able to report that the rate environment is slightly improved today, those improvements have been mostly relegated to minor decreases in borrowing costs for what will likely be the same rate you would have been quoted yesterday.

Underlying markets have been fairly equivocal for the past two days with a majority of the damage to mortgage rates having occurred with last week’s market movements that lenders more fully priced into rate sheets yesterday. Stocks, Bonds, and MBS (the “mortgage-backed-securities” that most directly influence mortgage rates) are all very close to where they were last night, seemingly in preparation and anticipation of several important events tomorrow. These include the FOMC Statement (Fed “rate decision,” although it’s the text of the announcement that is important as no change is expected to the discount rate), the first-ever release of FOMC members forecasts, a post-announcement press conference from Ben Bernanke, as well as the 5yr Treasury Note auction.

Tomorrow’s events, taken in conjunction with tonight’s State of The Union address presents quite a bit for mortgage markets to digest. The speech tonight may contain mention of new housing-related initiatives (some have suggested), and similar suggestions have been made about tomorrow’s FOMC Announcement (which would be a MUCH bigger deal as far as influencing mortgage markets). Conversely, it’s possible that some recent levity for MBS vs Treasuries is due to the EXPECTATION that the Fed will add some extra MBS-Specific quantitative easing in the near future, meaning that rates could face some added pressure if MBS are NOT specifically mentioned, although that’s not likely to cause sufficient movement tomorrow for Best-Execution to rise. Whatever happens tomorrow, it’s a high-risk set of events that could push rates higher OR lower, but we’ll hopefully come away from it with a clearer sense of whether or not rates will make it back down to a 3.875% Best-Execution any time soon.

Today’s BEST-EXECUTION Rates

30YR FIXED – 4.0%, 3.875% still a contender
FHA/VA -3.75%
15 YEAR FIXED – 3.375%
5 YEAR ARMS – 2.625-3.25% depending on the lender
Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations

Rates and costs continue to operate near all time best levels
Current levels have experienced increasing resistance in improving much from here
There are technical reasons for that as well as fundamental reasons
Lenders tend to get busier when rates are in this “high 3’s” level and can throttle their inbound volume by raising rates or costs.
While we don’t necessarily think rates are destined to go higher, given the above facts, there seems to be more risk than reward regarding floating
But that will always be the case when rates operating near historic lows

Mortgage Rates Sideways Ahead of Wednesdays Important Events

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Are Charter Schools Models of Reform for Traditional Public Schools?

By Jay P. Greene

Yes, answers Roland Fryer in an amazing study released this month. Based on earlier work, he identified 5 features of charter schools that helped them produce strong results: “increased time, better human capital, more student-level differentiation, frequent use of data to inform instruction, and a culture of high expectations.” Fryer then somehow convinced the superintendent and school board in Houston to pursue these five reforms in a serious way in 9 struggling traditional public schools. (CORRECTION — the Houston folks report that they were eager to pursue some promising reforms and required no convincing. They should be commended for that.) Here, in brief, is what they did:

To increase time on task, the school day was lengthened one hour and the school year was lengthened ten days. This amounts to 21 percent more school than students in these schools obtained in the year pre-treatment and roughly the same as successful charter schools in New York City. In addition, students were strongly encouraged and even incentivized to attend classes on Saturday. In an effort to significantly alter the human capital in the nine schools, 100 percent of principals, 30 percent of other administrators, and 52 percent of teachers were removed and replaced with individuals who possessed the values and beliefs consistent with an achievement-driven mantra and, wherever possible, a demonstrated record of achievement. To enhance student-level differentiation, we supplied all sixth and ninth graders with a math tutor in a two-on-one setting and provided an extra dose of reading or math instruction to students in other grades who had previously performed below grade level. This model was adapted from the MATCH school in Boston – a charter school that largely adheres to the methods described in Dobbie and Fryer (2011b). In order to help teachers use interim data on student performance to guide and inform instructional practice, we required schools to administer interim assessments every three to four weeks and provided schools with three cumulative benchmarks assessments, as well as assistance in analyzing and presenting student performance on these assessments. Finally, to instill a culture of high expectations and college access for all students, we started by setting clear expectations for school leadership. Schools were provided with a rubric for the school and classroom environment and were expected to implement school-parent-student contracts. Specific student performance goals were set for each school and the principal was held accountable for these goals.

And the result:

In the grade/subject areas in which we implemented all five policies described in Dobbie and Fryer (2011b) – sixth and ninth grade math – the increase in student achievement is dramatic. Relative to students who attended comparison schools, sixth grade math scores increased 0.484σ (.097) in one year. In seventh and eighth grades, the treatment effect in math is 0.125σ (.065) and is statistically significant. A very similar pattern emerges in high school math: large effects in ninth grade and a more modest but statistically significant effect in tenth and eleventh grade, which suggest that two-on-one tutoring is particularly effective. The results in reading exhibit a different pattern. If anything, the reading scores demonstrate a slight decrease in middle school, though not statistically significant, and a modest increase in high school. Impacts on attendance – which are positive and statistically insignificant – are difficult to interpret given the longer school day and longer school year.

Strikingly, both the magnitude of the increase in math and the muted effect for reading are consistent with the results of successful charter schools. Taking the treatment effects at face value, treatment schools in Houston would rank third out of twelve in math and fifth out of twelve in reading among charter schools in NYC with statistically significant positive results in the sample analyzed in Dobbie and Fryer (2011b).

Using data from the National Student Clearinghouse, we investigate treatment effects on two college outcomes: whether a student enrolled in any college (extensive margin) and whether they chose a four-year college, conditional on enrolling in any college (intensive margin). Calculated at the mean, students are 6.2 percentage points less likely to attend college, though the effect is not statistically significant. Conditional on attending college, however, treatment students are 17.7 percentage points more likely to enroll in a four-year institution, relative to a mean of 46% in comparison schools – a 40% increase.

Traditional public schools can get results like a KIPP school without having to actually become KIPP schools. They just have to imitate a few of the key features employed by KIPP and other successful charter schools. This is incredibly encouraging news. It means that traditional public schools are really capable of making significant progress if only they become more open to learning from successful charter schools. They can make that progress without having to cure poverty and all other social ills (although I’m sure that would be nice too).

Of course, there are serious concerns about bringing these reforms to scale, which Fryer considers in his conclusion. He dismisses union opposition as a serious obstacle based on the fact that the unionized school system in Denver is pursuing a similar reform strategy. I’m not so easily convinced that unions nationwide will jump aboard a plan that involves huge turnover in staffing and significantly more hours and days per year. Cost is another barrier to bringing this reform strategy to scale, but he notes that the marginal cost is only $1,837 per student and the rate of return on that investment would be roughly 20%.

But the most serious concerns seem to be fidelity to implementation and shortages of quality labor. We could all be heart surgeons if we just did what heart surgeons do. But there are only so many people capable of doing that work and not every office building can be re-organized as a hospital. Then again, successful teaching isn’t exactly heart surgery (although it can be just about as important), so perhaps there is real hope of bringing this to scale. We won’t know until we try it in more places with more schools.

– Jay Greene

Are Charter Schools Models of Reform for Traditional Public Schools?

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What Your Day Should Look Like if You Are Unemployed

By LINDSAY OLSON

When you’re without a job, it’s important to maintain structure throughout your day. It’s easy to get distracted with household chores, sleeping in, and focusing on the wrong tasks. Setting up a solid job search plan will not only help you find a job faster, but it will also renew your confidence and keep you feeling good about yourself.

Part 1: Hunting for a Job

While it may seem like a lot, you should allocate a significant portion of your day looking for a job. To break up the monotony, designate each day for browsing different career sites or company sites. You should also set up email alerts or RSS feeds to bring in all of the new jobs daily that match your criteria. Once you’ve checked those, you can go back and browse the sites individually to find other positions that may have been missed by your automatic searches.

Your online focus should include major job boards, industry-niche job boards, even Twitter hashtags and Facebook status updates where individuals could post information about a potential position you won’t find elsewhere.

Some companies only post their open positions on their own sites, while others may have a large budget to spread amongst several sources. Third-party recruiters may not even post all of their open searches. Keep track of which jobs you’ve applied for, because you don’t want to make the mistake of applying for the same job more than once.

Part of your daily routine should be spent networking to find a job. Find local networking events and schedule them on your calendar each week. Even if you don’t feel like meeting new people, push yourself to get out there. It just might be the fast track to your next role.

Also, spend time prepping for interviews, even if none are in sight. Simply thinking through what answers you’ll give to common questions, as well as what you will wear for a job interview can prepare you in advance and help you succeed.

Part 2: Mental Health

Sticking to your old routines can help you feel more grounded. Do things you did when you had a job. The less changed your routine is, the easier you’ll find it to focus on what you need to: finding your next job.

Spend time thinking about what kind of job you want, especially if it’s much different from the one you had. Maybe losing your job is a blessing in disguise. It gives you the opportunity to think about what you really enjoy doing—and don’t. It might be time to go back to school or start in a different industry.

Part 3: Physical Health

Don’t underestimate the value of physical exercise on your well-being in this situation. Physical activity should be part of your daily routine: aim for 30 minutes or more of exercise daily. It doesn’t have to be the same activity each day, and you may want to try something different depending on how you’re feeling.

For example, a long walk can help you clear your head and give you space to think about what you want with your career. Run, bike, swim, lift weights, practice yoga, join a volleyball league —whatever it is, make sure you enjoy doing it.

A major cause of depression or frustration with job loss comes from feeling adrift. Having a schedule that you can rely on each day will get you back on track and feeling better. Not to mention, it will speed up the hiring process and get you in your next job.

employment, hiring, careers, economyemployment, hiring, careers

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The Nightly Turbo: Royal Flush Girls Photo Shoot, Playtech Eyes U.S. Market, and More

Brett Collson

If you’re looking for the list of 2012 Academy Awards nominees, you’ve come to the wrong place. However, the Nightly Turbo does have Tuesday’s biggest poker stories, including three major announcements from Playtech, a photo shoot featuring the Royal Flush Girls, and more.

In Case You Missed It
The World Series of Poker Circuit Choctaw Durant Main Event came to a close on Monday. Abraham Araya emerged as the champion, collecting more than $270,000.

Phil Ivey made huge waves during Day 1c of the Aussie Millions Main Event. Check out our daily recap for the all the details from Melbourne.
Dan “KingDan23” Smith won the $100,000 Challenge at the Aussie Millions this week. Smith’s big win was among the topics discussed in Rich Ryan’s latest Five Thoughts piece.

The World Poker Tour is on a short hiatus before it touches down in Venice next month, but the guys behind the scenes have given us plenty of reason to pay attention in the meantime.

On Monday, the WPT released a sneak preview of a bikini photo shoot featuring the Royal Flush Girls. The shoot took place during the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio. Have a look:

Playtech Prepares for New Markets
Playtech’s new global strategy took a major step on Tuesday as the company announced three transactions that will help position the company for regulated online gambling markets. Playtech acquired U.K. sportsbook and lottery software firm Geneity for £11 million, and entered into joint venture partnerships with German gaming company Gauselmann and South Africa-based casino and resort operator Peermont.

Playtech CEO Mor Weizer said in a statement that the company is preparing itself for all new markets, including the United States. He discussed that opportunity with Reuters on Tuesday, saying, “We have lots of potential customers (in the U.S.) that approached us or that we approached that would like to have us as their suppliers of online gaming products when the market opens up.”

Read the full story at PokerNews.com.

Facebook’s Value with Online Gambling?
According to a recent article over at Business Insider, a source close to Facebook predicts that the social gaming giant would generate $100 billion in revenue when online gambling is legalized in the U.S.
Yes, that’s right. One hundred billion dollars.

That number seems like a stretch considering Facebook did about $4 billion in revenue last year through advertising and gaming credits purchased through companies like Zynga. However, with a number of states now considering the legalization of online gambling in the U.S., Facebook’s immensely popular social network platform would undoubtedly be a popular spot for online gamblers.

Last November, Facebook announced it was developing plans to offer real-money gambling in the United Kingdom as early as 2012. That could likely serve as a test run for Facebook to expand into other markets where online gambling is legal.

Read more at Business Insider.

Get Your TCOOP Results Here
The inaugural Turbo Championship of Online Poker at PokerStars is nearing the midway point as champions were crowned in 23 of the 50 events through Monday. Four players took down titles on Monday, each winning massive cash prizes and a 24k gold-played card protector to commemorate their accomplishment. Here’s a quick look at the results:

Event #20: Pot-Limit Omaha Six-Max 1R1A ($100K Guaranteed)

Buy-in Entrants Prize Pool
$50+5 1,475 $133,100
Nearly 1,500 players took part in the $55 Pot-Limit Omaha Six-Max event. After 936 rebuys and 241 add-ons, a prize pool of $133,100 was up for grabs. Less than four hours after it began, a three-handed deal was struck and the U.K.’s “TLD2008” went on to win the title for $19,439.

Event #21: No Limit Hold’em 4-Max ($150K Guaranteed)
Buy-in Entrants Prize Pool
$40+4 4,727 $189,080
Amazingly, the $44 4-Max event took four hours and 44 minutes to complete. “Biggielaw” from Hong Kong collected the top prize of $22,689 and the title after agreeing to a heads-up deal with “Alekhinebcn” from Spain.

Event #22: Limit Omaha Hi/Lo ($50K Guaranteed)
Buy-in Entrants Prize Pool
$75+7 1,085 $81,375
Team PokerStars Pro Lex Veldhuis fell just short of the final table in this one, finishing in 12th place for $773. He missed out on a wild finish as the final table took only 16 minutes to complete. Fellow Team PokerStars Pro Nuno Coelho from Portugal finished third for $7,731, and Norway’s “thomber” claimed the title and the top prize of $14,225.

Event #23: No-Limit Hold’em Six-Max Hyper-Turbo ($200K Guaranteed)
Buy-in Entrants Prize Pool
$150+3 2,995 $449,250
The richest TCOOP event of the day attracted nearly 3,000 players to generate a prize pool of $449,250. A deal at the final table resulted in three players taking home at least $49,000, and Canada’s “andy123460” went on to win the event and $58,754.

For more details on each event, check out the PokerStars Blog.

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New tools remind young internet users to protect privacy

CBC News

Privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart says younger internet users and their parents must take steps to protect their privacy online. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Despite their media savvy, many Canadian teenagers do not fully understand the risks of revealing personal information online, Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart said Tuesday.

Stoddart spoke to Gr. 7 and 8 students at Hopewell Avenue Public School in Ottawa Tuesday and introduced three new tools to help young internet users protect their privacy online.

“Canadian kids use the internet and online tools effortlessly, at a very young age, and many kids are way ahead of adults in adapting to new technology,” Stoddart said in the release

“Unfortunately, while they are incredibly adept when it comes to surfing, texting, posting and chatting online, they don’t always take time to consider the privacy pitfalls these new technologies pose.”

“We need to start talking to them about online privacy at an early age and encourage them to think carefully about the personal information they are sharing online,” the release said.

The tools from the Privacy Commmissioner’s Office include a five-minute video, an educational presentation for teachers’ use and a tipsheet for parents. All three resources provide information for teaching young people how to protect their information online.

The tools are designed to help educate young people about how to protect themselves from predators, keep their personal information safe and clean up their online images.

The video offers advice for young teens, urging them to protect their passwords, adjust their privacy settings, never disclose their locations and to “only write, text, or post things that you’d want anyone, anywhere to see.”

The tipsheet suggests that parents “try out” new internet tools themselves, adding that the only way to really understand the nature of social networking and sharing sites is to try it firsthand.

The educational presentation package is the second presentation created by the Privacy Commissioner’s Office to educate teens about online privacy issues. The first was geared toward high school students.

Tuesday’s event is part of a week-long campaign leading up to Data Privacy Day on Jan. 28. Data Privacy Day is an annual awareness day the Privacy Commissioner’s Office established to educate Canadians about issues surrounding online privacy.

New tools remind young internet users to protect privacy

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Zynga Confirms Interest in Real-Money Gambling

Brett Collson

Zynga’s free-to-play business model could see some changes if online gambling is legalized in the U.S.

On Friday, a spokesperson for the social gaming giant told All Things D that it is in discussions with several partners about a shift into the real-money online gambling market:

“We build games and experiences that our players want and love. Zynga Poker is the world’s largest online poker game with more than 7 million people playing every day and over 30 million each month. We know from listening to our players that there’s an interest in the real money gambling market. We’re in active conversations with potential partners to better understand and explore this new opportunity.”

At present, Zynga raises revenue through advertising and the sale of virtual goods, such as the purchase of virtual chips in Zynga Poker. The company has maintained that it is happy with its business model and was not interested in going after a real-money space.

However, now that the Department of Justice has opened the door for states in the U.S. to implement an online gambling platform, gaming operators like Zynga could take advantage of an opportunity to generate millions and maybe even billions of dollars in revenue

Last October, Zynga announced it would be launching an umbrella franchise called Zynga Casino, which will encompass its popular Zynga Poker game, Zynga Bingo and future casino games. The virtual casino has not opened yet, but could be a major cog in the company’s real-money strategy.

Zynga opened its initial public offering last month, selling 100,000 shares at $10 apiece. However, the stock price dropped to around $8 nearly immediately after it went public and has yet to climb above its initial offering price. The stock saw an early increase of 5 percent Friday morning when news of the online gambling interest broke

PokerNews reached out to Zynga for a comment but has not yet received a reply.

Read more: http://www.pokernews.com/news/2012/01/zynga-confirms-interest-in-real-money-gambling-11850.htm

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Anonymous: #OpGlobalBlackout Targets Banks, Facebook

Whoever wins, we lose
Zach Walton

Anonymous is back with their grandest threat yet.

This past week, an innocuous YouTube video was posted titled, “Anonymous Message to Congress.” The video was made in response to the shutting down of MegaUpload on Thursday by the federal government. This, as we reported, led to Anonymous’ largest coordinated attack in their history with over 5,000 people taking down over 10 federal and industry Web sites.

What is your opinion about what Anonymous are doing? Share your thoughts here.

The video, which you can watch in its entirety below, is phase one of #OpGlobalBlackout.
They do recognize that MegaUpload contained copyrighted content, but say that the take down was not about copyrighted materials. Anonymous demands that MegaUpload be reinstated within 72 hours.

Anonymous claims that they have gained access to the servers for the United Nations, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, US Bank, Capital One, Chase Bank, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. If their demands are not met, they will take down all of these servers.

For the banks, Anonymous claims that they have the account info of every client at these banks. They want to reassure citizens, however, that they are not going to compromise their information. They only want to make a statement to Congress.

As for Congress, they have a very special message – “To those who support PIPA and SOPA. To those congressmen who want to vote yes on these bills. We are not fucking playing.”

This has essentially turned into a game of chicken between Anonymous and the U.S. Government with the Internet in the crossfire.

GENERAL ALLEGATIONS
Mike Masnick provides an embed of the government’s case against MegaUpload:

He raises a rather interesting point about the government’s case against MegaUpload in that…

The indictment points out that Megaupload did not have a site search, by which users could find material. That’s interesting, but it seems like an odd piece of information in making the case. Other copyright cases have specifically found that having a search engine is part of an inducement claim — so there’s an argument that the idea not to have a search engine wasn’t so much “conspiracy,” as it was an attempt to follow the guidance of the court and to stay legal. To use the lack of a feature, that previously was shown to be a problem, as evidence of a conspiracy is crazy. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

http://www.webpronews.com/anonymous-global-blackout-2012-01

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Mortgages Rates Higher Again and Less Consistent Between Lenders

BY MATTHEW GRAHAM

Mortgage Rates moved higher again today, albeit by a relatively small amount on average. But averages only tell part of the story. We’re seeing the same phenomenon of increasingly divergent rates between lenders crop up that we saw when the last major shift down in rates was happening, only this time it isn’t so much motivated by a currently shifting market as it is by a POTENTIALLY shifting market The various methodologies for implementing the recently imposed Fannie/Freddie Guaranty Fee Increase are no doubt playing a part as well.

Whatever the underlying cause might be, what you need to know is that rates have been increasingly different from lender to lender. Furthermore, some lenders’ positioning in the market relative to other lenders has changed drastically in recent weeks. Some market leaders are now “mid-pack” at best, while some from the mid-pack are now in market-leader territory. Rate diversity notwithstanding, the recent weakness might be cause for some concern if you’d been floating and waiting. While there still are a few lenders where 3.75% is a potentially logical a Best-Execution rate for some, at other lenders, 4.0% could make more sense today. The average remains at 3.875% when rounded to the eighth, but the underlying numbers have been steadily on the rise.

All the fuss seems to be centered on the combination of several events in the week ahead, including the FOMC Announcement (Fed Rate Decision and official statement), which is likely the markets focus, in addition to keeping an eye out for potential headlines out of Europe. There are a few other considerations beyond these that could be prompting a bit of defensiveness in the interest rate environment, including another round of US Treasury Auctions. What’s important here is that markets are heading to central ground, gearing up for a slightly bigger move in one direction or the other. There’s no way to know for sure which direction that will be, and while we wouldn’t think that today is the last time we’ll ever report on a Best-Execution rate in the high 3’s, the small chance that it is, could be enough of a motivation to protect against that eventuality. In other words, if you didn’t lock earlier this week, the market is trying to force your hand. You either have to cut your losses or be forced to play a risky game next week. Tough call either way.

Today’s BEST-EXECUTION Rates

30YR FIXED – 3.875%, 3.75% as close as it’s been
FHA/VA -3.75%
15 YEAR FIXED – 3.375% / 3.25%
5 YEAR ARMS – 2.625-3.25% depending on the lender
Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations

Rates and costs continue to operate near all time best levels
Current levels have experienced increasing resistance in improving much from here
There are technical reasons for that as well as fundamental reasons
Lenders tend to get busier when rates are in this “high 3’s” level and can throttle their inbound volume by raising rates or costs.
While we don’t necessarily think rates are destined to go higher, given the above facts, there seems to be more risk than reward regarding floating
But that will always be the case when rates operate near all-time levels, and as 2011 showed us, it doesn’t always mean they’re done improving.

View:Current Mortgage Rates

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