April 28th, 2009 10:45 PM by Lehel Szucs
Monday's bond market has opened in positive territory following early stock weakness. The Dow is currently down 64 points while the Nasdaq has lost 15 points. The bond market is currently up 12/32, but I am not expecting to see much a change in this morning's mortgage rates.
The first of this week's seven relevant economic reports comes late tomorrow morning when the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for April will be released. This Conference Board index is a key indicator of future spending by consumers. The group surveys 5000 consumers from across the country about their personal financial situations. If sentiment is strong or rising, it is believed that consumers are more apt to make large purchases in the near future. However, if they are concerned about issues such as job security and investments, they will probably delay making large purchases. The latter is better for the bond market and mortgage rates because the expected slowdown in spending would ke ep inflation concerns to a minimum. But, a sizable increase could hurt the bond market, pushing mortgage rates higher tomorrow. It is expected to show a reading of 28.8, which would be an increase from March's 26.0 reading.
Wednesday brings us the release of a very important report along with the FOMC meeting results. The report is the preliminary version of the 1st Quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is arguably the single most important report that we see on a regular basis. The GDP is the sum of all products and services produced in the U.S. and is considered to be the best indicator of economic growth or contraction. I expect this report to cause major movement in the financial markets Wednesday and therefore the mortgage market also. Analysts are expecting to see a decline in output at an annual rate of 4.9%. A larger decline would be ideal for mortgage rates. But, a stronger than expected reading would almost certainly cause stock prices to rise and bond prices to fall, leading to higher mortgage rates Wednesday morning.
This week's FOMC meeting will begin on Tuesday but will not adjourn until Wednesday afternoon. It will likely adjourn with an announcement of no change to key short-term interest rates, but we may see some volatility in the markets following the 2:15 PM ET post-meeting statement.
Overall, look for plenty of movement in the financial markets and mortgage rates this week. Wednesday will likely be the most important day of the week with the GDP being posted along with the FOMC adjournment, but we may see noticeable changes to rates tomorrow and Friday also. If this week's reports reveal weaker than expected economic conditions, the bond market should rally and mortgage rates should fall significantly for the week.
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... 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.
©Mortgage Commentary 2009