"hang on to your hats, boys, it’s going to be a bumpy ride

 "hang on to your hats, boys, it’s going to be a bumpy ride                                                                            

·          TSX  +467.83ptssome of the bounce is attributed to bargain hunters rushing in for quality stocks, and also to buying associated with fund managers rebalancing their portfolios ahead of the end of the quarter

·          Dow +485.21pts. U.S. stocks also reversed course sharply, as the Dow Jones industrial average leaped 4.68%

·          Dollar  -1.82c to $93.97US.

·          Oil +4.27 to $100.64US per barrel  with a growing consensus among investors that the U.S. Congress will resurrect a failed financial bailout plan. The Senate is set to vote Wednesday on a $700-billion US financial bailout plan that was narrowly defeated Monday in the House of Representatives.

·          Gold -$14.00 to $874.20US per ounce  Gold retreated sharply as a rally in stocks and a higher dollar erased the previous session's gains, but gold should rise in the near term because of its safe-haven appeal amid financial turmoil, traders said.

September, 2008: 30 days that rocked the world    "Now what?" asked Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics. "Analysis eludes us. We have no prior experience to fall back on that might possibly help us frame the consequences of Congress's inaction on either the economy or financial markets."

 

What's the best strategy as mortgage rates rise?

ROB CARRICK

Globe and Mail Update

September 30, 2008 at 12:15 PM EDT

 

The credit crunch has hit home with yet another move by the big banks to jack up the cost of mortgages.

 

Mortgage brokers report that the big banks and other lenders have stopped offering variable-rate mortgages with a discount off the prime rate.

 

It was common in the first half of 2007 to get a variable-rate mortgage at prime minus a full percentage point, said Jim Tourloukis of Advent Mortgages in Markham, Ont. Since then, the discount had gradually fallen to 0.4 of a percentage point as of last week.

 

“As of yesterday, virtually everybody was offering variable-rate mortgages at prime,” Mr. Tourloukis said. “In other words, no more discounting.”

 

Forced to pay more to raise the money they lend out to customers, the banks have set fixed mortgage rates far higher than they would be under normal circumstances. Now, variable-rate mortgages have been affected as well. What's the right strategy for borrowers?

 

Your choices: a variable-rate mortgage at 4.75 per cent, which is the current prime rate at all major lenders, or a discounted five-year mortgage at rates in the low 5-per-cent range.

 

The lower variable rate means you'll save money in the near term, but it also opens you up to the risk that rising interest rates will boost your borrowing costs somewhere down the line.

 

“If I'm the average Joe, I would be taking the five-year rate right now because I don't know what's going on out there and I don't want to risk my house,” Mr. Tourloukis said. “I don't think rates are going to go up, but I don't want to worry about it.”

 

Mr. Tourloukis said about 90 per cent of his clients were going with variable-rate mortgages prior to this week, and he expects the same big majority to swing over to fixed-rate mortgages going forward.

 

The problem with fixed-rate mortgages – almost everyone picks the five-year term – is that you'll have to work hard to get a good deal. Posted five-year rates at major lenders are around 7.2 per cent, and some banks are posting “special” discounted rates of 6.14 per cent on their websites.

 

However, Mr. Tourloukis said he was able to get five-year mortgages as low as 4.99 per cent. Alternative banks and credit unions have been offering rates as low as 4.99 to 5.45 per cent.

 

Brian Matthey, a mortgage broker in Kingston, Ont., said five-year mortgages would be going for about 4.35 per cent today under normal circumstances in financial markets. He stressed the importance of shopping around for a mortgage right now and not settling for whatever discount your bank is willing to dole out.

 

“The banks are going to freewheel as they need to in terms of what they offer their clients,” Mr. Matthey said.