April 20th, 2009 6:58 AM by Lehel Szucs
This week is fairly light in terms of economic news scheduled for release. There are four reports scheduled, but only one of them is likely to cause much movement in mortgage rates. Accordingly, there is a fairly decent possibility of seeing a fairly calm week in the mortgage market, assuming that the stock markets do the same.
The week's first data comes tomorrow morning when the Conference Board will release their Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) for March. This data attempts to measure economic activity over the next three to six months. If it estimates an increase in activity, the bond market may fall and mortgage rates could rise. If it shows a weaker than expected reading, the bond market may move higher and mortgage rates should improve slightly. This is considered to be a moderately important report, so we may see a slight movement in rates as a result of this report. It is expected to show a decline of 0.3%.
There is no relevant data sched uled for release Tuesday or Wednesday. The National Association of Realtors will post March's Existing Homes Sales numbers Thursday morning, which are expected to show a drop from February. A similar report to this one and actually the week's least important data- March's New Home Sales will be released Friday morning. Both of these releases give us an indication of housing sector strength and mortgage credit demand, but unless they vary greatly from analysts' forecasts, I don't think they will cause much movement in mortgage rates.
March's Durable Goods Orders will also be posted Friday morning. This report gives us an indication of manufacturing sector strength by tracking orders for big-ticket items at U.S. factories. Current forecasts are calling for a decline of 1.5%. This would be a sign of manufacturing sector weakness that would be good news for bonds, especially if the report shows a larger than expected decline. A stronger level of new orders could l ead to stock strength and weakness in bonds, translating into higher mortgage rates Friday.
Overall, look for Friday to be the most important day of the week with the Durable Goods report being posted. The rest of the week will likely be heavily influenced by the stock markets. If the major stock indexes rally, bonds will likely suffer and mortgage rates will move higher. If stocks fall for the week, we could see mortgage rates move lower the next few days.
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.