March 29th, 2010 8:28 AM by Lehel S.
This week brings us the release of five reports that are considered relevant to mortgage rates but some of the data is considered to be very important and one is arguably the single most important data we see each month. There is relevant data being posted each day and it is considered a holiday week, so we can expect to see a fair amount of volatility in the markets and possibly mortgage rates the next few days.
The first is February's Personal Income & Outlays report early tomorrow morning. This data helps us measure consumers' ability to spend and current spending habits, which is important to the mortgage market because of the influence that consumer spending related information has on the financial markets. If a consumer's income is rising, they are more likely to make additional purchases. This raises inflation concerns and has a negative affect on the bond market and mortgage rates. Current forecasts are calling for a 0.1% increase in income and a 0.3% rise in spending.
March's Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) will be posted late Tuesday morning. This index gives us an indication of consumers' willingness to spend. Bond traders watch this data closely because consumer spending makes up two-thirds of our economy. If this report shows that confidence is falling, it would indicate that consumers are more apt to delay making large purchases. If the report reveals that confidence looks to be growing, we may see bond traders sell, pushing mortgage rates higher Tuesday morning. It is expected to show an increase from February's 46.0 reading to 50.0 for March.
February's Factory Orders will be released early Wednesday morning. This data is similar to last week's Durable Goods Orders report, except that this report includes orders for both durable and non-durable goods, giving us a measurement of manufacturing sector strength. It is also the least important of this week's five reports. Unles s it varies greatly from forecasts of a 0.5% increase, I suspect that it will be a non-factor in the mortgage market.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) will release their manufacturing index late Thursday morning. This index gives us an important measurement of manufacturer sentiment by surveying trade executives and is one of the more important of this week's data. A reading above 50 means more surveyed executives felt business improved during the month than those who said it had worsened. This month's report is expected to show a reading of 57.0, which would be a small increase from February's reading of 56.5. This means that analysts think business sentiment remained fairly close to last month's level.
The biggest news of the week will come early Friday morning when the Labor Department posts March's Employment report, giving us the U.S. unemployment rate and the number of jobs added or lost during the month. This is an extremely important re port to the financial and mortgage markets. It is expected to show that the unemployment rate remained at 9.7% and that approximately 190,000 payrolls were added during the month. A higher unemployment rate and a smaller than expected payroll number would be good news for bonds and would likely push mortgage rates lower Friday.
Overall, I expect to see the most movement in rates either Thursday or Friday. Friday is the most important day of the week with the employment numbers being released, but we will likely see a fair amount of movement in rates Thursday morning also. I am expecting tomorrow or Wednesday to be the calmest day of the week, but we should still see some changes to rates those days. In general, it will probably be pretty active week. Also worth noting is that fact that the stock markets will be closed Friday in observance of the Good Friday holiday, but the bond market will open for trading until noon. This will likely create additional volatili ty in bonds Thursday afternoon and especially Friday morning. Accordingly, it would be prudent to maintain contact with your mortgage professional 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... 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.