June 1st, 2009 8:58 AM by Lehel Szucs
This week brings us the release of a couple important pieces of economic data in addition to some moderately important reports. The first data is April's Personal Income and Outlays data at 8:30 AM tomorrow. This report gives us an indication of consumer ability to spend and current spending habits. An increase in income means that consumers have more money available to spend. Since consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy, this data can cause movement in the financial markets and mortgage rates. Current forecasts are showing a 0.2% decline in income and spending. Weaker readings would be considered good news for bonds and mortgage rates.
The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing index will be posted late tomorrow morning. This highly important index measures manufacturer sentiment. A reading below 50 means that more surveyed manufacturing executives felt that business worsened during the month than those who felt it had improv ed. Analysts are expecting to see a 42.0 reading in this month's release, meaning that sentiment strengthened slightly during May. A smaller reading will be good news for the bond market and mortgage shoppers while an unexpected increase could contribute to higher mortgage rates tomorrow.
There is no relevant data due to be posted Tuesday, but Wednesday has two reports scheduled for release. The first and possibly the only relevant news is the Commerce Department's release of April's Factory Orders data late morning. This manufacturing sector report is similar to last week's Durable Goods Orders release, but also includes orders for non-durable goods. It can cause some movement in the financial markets if it varies from forecasts by a wide margin, but it isn't expected to cause much change in rates this month. Current forecasts are expecting to see an increase in orders of 0.3%.
The second report of the day may have a noticeable impact on the markets or be a non-factor depending on its results. The Institute for Supply Management will release its services index late Wednesday morning. It is expected to show a reading of 45.0, with the same principals as Monday's manufacturing index. If this reading varies greatly from forecasts, we may see volatility in the markets and mortgage rates. However, if its results are in the general area of expectations, it will likely have no influence on the markets and mortgage pricing.
The revised 1st Quarter Productivity and Costs report will be released Thursday morning. This data measures employee output and employer costs for wages and benefits. It is considered to be a measurement of wage inflation. It is believed that the economy can grow with low inflationary pressures when productivity is high. Last month's preliminary reading revealed a 0.8% rate, but I don't think this piece of data will have much of an impact on the bond market or mortgage pricing unless i t varies greatly from its forecasted revised reading of 1.2%.
Friday's sole report is arguably the single most important report that we see each month. The Labor Department will post May's Employment data early Friday morning. This report gives us key employment readings such as the U.S. unemployment rate and the number of jobs added or lost during the month. Analysts are expecting to see the unemployment rate climb to 9.2% with approximately 550,000 jobs lost during the month. A higher than expected increase in the unemployment rate and a larger drop in payrolls would be great news for the bond market. It would probably create a sizable rally in bonds, leading to lower mortgage rates Friday. However, stronger than expected numbers may lead to a spike in mortgage rates Friday.
Overall, tomorrow or Friday are likely to be the most important days of the week as they bring us the two most important reports on the agenda. If they give us weaker than expect ed results, we will probably close the week with lower mortgage rates than tomorrow's opening levels. However, if we see stronger than expected readings in those two releases, I expect mortgage rates to move higher on the week.
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