February 9th, 2009 9:45 AM by Lehel Szucs
There are only three pieces of economic data scheduled to be posted this week along with a couple of Treasury auctions and relevant speeches from highly important speakers. Only one of the three reports are considered to be of high importance while one is moderately important. The third is not considered to be of much importance unless it varies greatly from forecasts.
None of the economic reports will be posted tomorrow. However, tomorrow evening President Obama will address the nation on national television. He will likely speak about his economic recovery plan amongst other important topics. What he says may heavily influence trading the following morning. It is very difficult to predict whether the markets are likely to react favorably to his words or negatively. But I am expecting to see volatility Tuesday morning.
Fed Chairman Bernanke will be speaking before the House Financial Services Committee Tuesday at 1:00 PM ET. He is expected t o testify and update the panel on the Fed's liquidity injections and future plans. His words could create movement in the markets and possibly mortgage pricing during afternoon trading.
There is no relevant data scheduled for release until Wednesday morning. This is when the week's least important data, December's Goods and Services Trade Balance, will be posted. This report measures the U.S. trade deficit and can affect the value of the U.S. dollar versus other currencies, but it usually does not cause enough movement in bond prices to affect mortgage rates.
The most important of the three reports this week is Thursday's release of January's Retail Sales data. This report 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 quite closely. If Thursday's report reveals weaker than expected sales, the bond market should thrive and m ortgage rates will fall. However, a stronger reading than the expected unchanged level of sales could lead to higher mortgage rates. Current forecasts are calling for a decline in sales of 0.3%.
February's preliminary reading to the University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment will be released late Friday morning. This index measures consumer willingness to spend and usually has a moderate impact on the financial markets. If it shows an increase in consumer confidence, the stock markets may move higher and bond prices could fall. It is currently expected to rise slightly from January's final reading of 61.2 to 61.5 for this month.
Overall, it is difficult to peg a particular day as the most important of the week. Tuesday will be quite interesting with the reaction to President Obama's words from Monday evening and Fed Bernanke's testimony on the Fed's attempts to stabilize the financial system. The single most important piec e of economic news comes Thursday, so that day needs to be given much weight also. Throw in the fact that there is an early close Friday due to the President's Day holiday next Monday, and we have the makings of an interesting week ahead of us.
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... 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.
©Mortgage Commentary 2009