The Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index fell slightly to 53.7 but still above the 50 mark for January, this according to a report released by Markit, an economic data firm. Separately in a Reuters poll, manufacturing hit a similar mark at 54.0, as reported by cnbc.com. Any number above 50Manufacturing Still Up indicates expansion. These numbers are the very first for the New Year and the first month of three for the Q1 reading.

 If you recall, the GDP number for Q1 2014 actually fell by -1.0%, causing the stock markets to lose more ground and interest rates to fall. It wasn’t until May of that year the interest rate rally faded as the end of QEIII came nearer. If manufacturing activity continues to fall in the months of February as well as March, the Q1 GDP account may also disappoint when released later this spring.

Manufacturers however should experience lower manufacturing costs due to the low energy costs as oil has remained under $50 bbl for all of January with no expectations of an increase in wholesale fuel costs in the near future. The Mideast has indicated no pullback of production is forthcoming and other players are simply pumping as much as they can to make up for lower prices.

For real estate investors and home buyers across the board, this can mean an extended period of low financing costs into spring and summer. The economy here may be growing and the past two quarters have shown respectable growth but all eyes will be on the initial Q4 GDP estimate released this Friday. Anything close to another 5.00% jump will provide a boost to Wall Street yet hit mortgage rates, causing them to rise. However, economists are expecting GDP to come in closer to 3.5%. The GDP number is hard to predict and no one anticipated negative growth for the first quarter of last year. Yet if we see more contraction over the next several weeks, the Q1 GDP just might disappoint. Again.