October 26th, 2009 7:15 AM by Lehel S.
This week brings us the release of seven relevant economic reports and two important Treasury auctions for the bond market to digest. There is relevant data or events scheduled every day except tomorrow, so there is a pretty good chance of seeing noticeable movement in mortgage rates several days this week.
The first report of the week is one of the more important ones. October's Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) will be posted late Tuesday morning. This Conference Board index gives us a measurement of consumer willingness to spend. It is expected to show a small increase in confidence from last month's 53.1 reading, indicating that consumers are a little more likely to make large purchases in the near future than last month. As long as the reading doesn't exceed the forecasted 53.5, we will likely see the bond market react favorably to this report. This data is watched closely because consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. econo my.
Wednesday morning the Commerce Department will post Durable Goods Orders for September. This report gives us a measurement of manufacturing sector strength by tracking orders at U.S. factories for big-ticket items. Analysts are currently calling for an increase in new orders of approximately 1.0%. If we see a larger than expected increase in orders, mortgage rates will probably rise as bond prices fall. A weaker than expected reading should be good news for the bond market and mortgage rates, but this data can be quite volatile from month to month and is difficult to forecast.
Also Wednesday is the release of September's New Home Sales. This data covers the remaining 15% of home sales that last week's Existing Home Sales report tracked and is this week's least important data. It is expected to show an increase in sales, but regardless of its results I am not expecting it to have a significant impact on mortgage rates Wednesday.The next relevant data is the preliminary reading of the 3rd Quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) early Thursday morning. The GDP is considered to be the benchmark measurement of economic growth because it is the sum of all goods and services produced in the U.S. and therefore is likely to have a major impact on the financial markets and mortgage pricing. There are three versions of this report, each a month apart. Thursday's release is the first and usually has the biggest impact on the markets. Current forecasts call for an increase of approximately 3.2% in the GDP. If this report does show a much smaller increase, I am expecting to see the bond market rally and mortgage rates to fall. However, a larger than expected rise could lead to bond selling and a sizable increase in mortgage pricing.
There are three reports scheduled for release Friday. The first is the 3rd Quarter Employment Cost Index (ECI), which tracks employer costs for salaries and benefi ts. Rapidly rising costs raises wage inflation concerns and may hurt bond prices. It is expected to show an increase in costs of 0.5%. A smaller than expected increase would be good news for bonds and mortgage rates.
September's Personal Income and Outlays report will also be posted early Friday. This data gives us an indication of consumer ability to spend and current spending habits. It is important to the markets because consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy. Rising income generally indicates that consumers have more money to spend, making economic growth more of a possibility. This is bad news for the bond market and mortgage rates because it raises inflation concerns, making long-term securities such as mortgage related bonds less attractive to investors. Analysts are expecting to see no change in income and decline in outlays of 0.5%.
The week's last report comes at 10:00 AM ET Friday w hen the University of Michigan updates their Index of Consumer Sentiment for this month. Current forecasts show this index rising slightly this month's preliminary reading of 69.4. This index is moderately important because it helps us measure consumer confidence, which is believed to indicate consumers' willingness to spend. Since consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy, any related data is considered to be relevant.
This week also has Treasury auctions scheduled each day except Friday. However, the two that are most likely to influence mortgage rates are Wednesday's 5-year and Thursday's 7-year Note sales. If those sales are met with a strong demand, particularly Thursday's auction, bond prices may rise during afternoon trading. This could lead to improvements to mortgage rates shortly after the results of the sales are posted at 1:00 PM ET each day. But a lackluster investor demand may create bond selling and upward revisions to mortgage ra tes.
Overall, it will likely be an active week for the markets and mortgage rates. I believe that the single most important day will probably end up being Thursday with the extremely important GDP release in the morning and the Treasury auction results during afternoon hours. Tomorrow will likely be the calmest day of the week, but Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday should also be active. Accordingly, I strongly recommend maintaining contact with your mortgage professional this week, especially if still floating an interest rate.
If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Lock if my closing was taking place within 7 days... Lock if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days... Lock 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.
©Mortgage Commentary 2009