April 13th, 2009 12:25 PM by Lehel Szucs
Monday's bond market has opened in positive territory following early stock losses that are in part due to concern about a possible bankruptcy filing by GM. The Dow is currently down 85 points while the Nasdaq has lost 15 points. The bond market is currently up 18/32, which will likely improve this morning's mortgage by approximately .125 of a discount point.
This week brings us the release of seven relevant economic reports for the bond market to digest. We are also heading into corporate earnings season, which could lead to fluctuations in the stock markets. If earnings come in lighter than estimates, the stock markets may fall, leading to an influx of funds into bonds. But, if earnings and forecasts are strong, the major stock indexes may rally, pulling funds from bonds and leading to higher mortgage rates.
There is no relevant economic news scheduled for release today. The first important report comes early tomorrow morning when the Commerce Department will release March's Retail Sales data. This piece of data gives us a measurement of consumer spending, which is very important because consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy. Current forecasts call for a 0.3% increase in sales last month. If we see a larger increase in spending, the bond market will probably fall and mortgage rates will rise. However, a weaker than expected reading could push bond prices higher and mortgage rates lower tomorrow.
The Labor Department will post March's Producer Price Index (PPI) early tomorrow morning also, giving us an important measurement of inflationary pressures at the producer level of the economy. There are two portions of the report that analysts watch- the overall reading and the core data reading. The core data is more important to market participants because it excludes more volatile food and energy prices. If it shows rapidly rising prices, inflation fears may hurt bond prices, leading to higher mortgage rates tomorrow morning. However, a small increase, or better yet a decline in prices, would be good news for the bond market and mortgage rates. Current forecasts are calling for no change in the overall reading and a 0.1% rise in the core data.
Overall, look for the most movement in rates the middle part of the week. The Retail Sales, PPI and CPI reports are the biggest names on the agenda. Any of the three can cause significant movement in the markets and mortgage rates. It appears that we have a very active week ahead of us so please proceed cautiously 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.
©Mortgage Commentary 2009