February 1st, 2010 8:41 AM by Lehel S.
This week is extremely busy in terms of economic data scheduled for release and will likely be another active week for mortgage rates. There are five economic releases scheduled for the week in addition to several speaking events for Fed and Cabinet members that may also influence the markets and mortgage rates. Four of these reports are considered to be of moderate or high importance, meaning we should see quite a bit of movement in mortgage rates this week.
The first report of the week is January's Personal Income and Outlays data tomorrow morning, which gives us an indication of consumer ability to spend and current spending habits. Current forecasts call for an increase in income of 0.3% while spending is expected to rise 0.3%. Larger increases would be good news for the stock markets and could hurt bond prices, driving mortgage rates higher tomorrow. Smaller than expected increases would be considered good news for mortgage rates.
Also schedule d for release tomorrow morning is the Institute of Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing index. This index tracks manufacturer sentiment by rating surveyed trade executives' opinions of business conditions. It is usually the first economic data released each month and is one of this week's very important reports. Current forecasts are calling for a reading in the neighborhood of 55.2 that would be a decline from December's reading. The lower the reading, the better the news for the bond market and mortgage rates.
Employee Productivity and Costs data for the 4th quarter will be released early Thursday morning. It can cause some movement in the bond market, but should have a minimal impact on mortgage pricing. If it varies greatly from analysts' forecasts of a 6.0% increase, we may see some movement in mortgage rates. However, the markets will be much more interested in Friday's data.
Late Thursday morning, December's Factory Orders data will be posted. It is similar to last week's Durable Goods Orders release in giving us a measurement of manufacturing sector strength, but this data includes new orders for both durable and non-durable goods. It is one of the less important reports of the week, but can influence mortgage pricing if it varies greatly from forecasts.
Friday's data is by far the most important of the week. The Labor Department will post January's Employment data early Friday morning, giving us the U.S. unemployment rate and the number of jobs added or lost during the month among other related statistics. Analysts are expecting to see the unemployment rate remain at 10.0% and that approximately 13,000 new jobs were added to the economy. An increase in unemployment and a loss in payrolls would be great news for the bond market. It would probably create a bond market rally, leading to lower mortgage rates Friday morning. However, if Friday's report reveals stronger than expec ted results, we can expect to see mortgage rates move higher.
In addition to the factual economic data, we also have several public speaking events about the U.S. budget, monetary policy and other related topics. They are sprinkled throughout the week and can cause a market reaction if anything said surprises market participants.
Overall, look for tomorrow or Friday to be the biggest days for mortgage rates. Friday's Employment report is the most important piece of data, but we may see quite a bit of movement in rates tomorrow morning also. If we see weaker than expected results from Tomorrow's ISM report and Friday's employment data, we should see rates close the week lower than last Friday's closing levels. If the data shows stronger than expected results, we may see mortgage rates move higher for the week. This is of course, assuming that the Fed and Cabinet speeches don't reveal any surprises.
If I were considering fi nancing/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.