December 9th, 2008 10:07 AM by Lehel Szucs
This week is moderately busy in terms of the number of economic releases scheduled for release. There are four on the agenda but two of them are considered to be very important that can heavily influence the markets and mortgage pricing. In addition, there is a 10-year Treasury Note auction Thursday that may hurt or help boost bond prices, depending on how strong of a demand there is in the sale. Since all of the data is scheduled for release Thursday and Friday, the most movement in rates will likely be the latter part of the week.
There is no relevant economic news scheduled for release tomorrow, Tuesday or Wednesday. October's Goods and Services Trade Balance report will be posted early Thursday morning. This report gives the size of the U.S. trade deficit, but it is the week's least important release. It is expected to show a $54.0 billion trade deficit. Unless it varies greatly from forecasts, I don't expect it to affect mortgage pricing.
Th e first important data of the week comes Friday morning with the release of November's Retail Sales report. This data is very important to the financial markets because it measures consumer spending. Since consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy, any related data is watched closely. Current forecasts call for it to show a 1.4% decline in sales from October's levels. If it reveals weaker than expected sales, the bond market should thrive and mortgage rates should fall as a result. A stronger than expected reading could fuel stock market gains and push mortgage rates higher Friday morning.
Also Friday and just as important as the sales data, the Labor Department will release November's Producer Price Index (PPI). This index measures inflationary pressures at the producer level of the economy. There are two portions of the index that are used- the overall reading and the core data reading. The core data is the more important of the two because it e xcludes more volatile food and energy prices. If Friday's release reveals stronger than expected readings, indicating that inflationary pressures are rising, the bond market will probably react negatively and should drive mortgage rates higher. If we see in-line or weaker than expected numbers, the bond market should fair well and mortgage rates should fall. Current forecasts are showing a 1.8% drop in the overall index and a 0.2% rise in the core data.
The fourth and final report of the week is December's preliminary reading to the University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment Friday morning. This index measures consumer willingness to spend and can usually have enough of an impact on the financial markets to change mortgage rates slightly. However, with the Retail Sales and PPI reports out before this data, I don't expect it to affect mortgage rates much. It is expected to show a reading of 58.0, which would be an increase from last month's final reading .
Overall, expect to see a pretty volatile week in the financial markets and mortgage pricing with the most movement Thursday and Friday. Friday's Retail Sales and PPI reports can cause a great deal of movement in rates. Due to the expected volatility, I am holding the current lock recommendations. However, please maintain constant contact with your mortgage professional if you have not locked an interest rate yet.
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... Lock 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 2008