October 20th, 2008 9:22 AM by Lehel Szucs
There are only two pieces of data scheduled for release this week that may affect mortgage rates along with testimony by Fed Chairman Bernanke. Neither of the reports are considered to be of high importance to the markets, so I am expecting the stock markets to again play a significant role in bonds swings and changes to mortgage rates.
The first report is will be posted late tomorrow morning when the Conference Board posts September's Leading Economic Indicators (LEI). This index attempts to measure future economic activity, particularly during the next three to six months. Current forecasts are calling for a decline of 0.3% from August?s reading. This would indicate that economic activity is likely to slow moderately. That would be good news for the bond market and mortgage rates.
Chairman Bernanke will speak before the House Budget Committee late tomorrow morning regarding the status of the economic recovery plan. As usual, market participants will be watching his words carefully. We may see them cause fluctuations in the markets while he is speaking, however, I suspect he will not say anything drastically surprising to anyone.
The middle part of the week is very calm in terms of economic releases and related events. Accordingly, look for significant movement in the stock markets to lead to any sizable movements in bonds or mortgage pricing.
September's Existing Home Sales that will be posted at 10:00 AM ET Friday. This report gives us an indication of housing sector strength and mortgage credit demand. I don't see it having much of an influence on the bond market or mortgage rates, but a reading that varies greatly from analysts' forecasts could lead to a slight change in mortgage pricing. It is expected to show a slight increase in sales from August to September.
Overall, I am expecting to see a fairly quiet week for mortgage rates, assuming the stock markets are not wild agai n. The most important day will likely be tomorrow with the more important of the two releases scheduled and the testimony from Chairman Bernanke. However, just because it is a light week in terms of economic news, we should not let our guard down as the markets can implode or rally at anytime these days.
If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Lock if my closing was taking place within 7 days... Float if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days... Float if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days... Float if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now... This is only my opinion of what I would do if I were financing a home. It is only an opinion and cannot be guaranteed to be in the best interest of all/any other borrowers.
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