May 4th, 2009 7:04 AM by Lehel Szucs
This week is very light in terms of the number of economic releases that are scheduled to be posted. However, we may still have an active week in the markets and mortgage rates due to the importance of the data that is being released and the other events on the calendar. There are only two reports scheduled that are worth watching, but one of them is highly important to bonds and mortgage rates.
The first event of the week will be testimony of Fed Chairman Bernanke as he speaks before a Joint Economic Committee Tuesday morning. The topic will be the economy and the Fed's outlook for future activity. Market participants will be watching his words closely, which means that we will likely see some volatility in trading as he speaks. He will begin at 10:00 AM ET, so look for fluctuations in the markets during late morning trading and potential revisions to rates early afternoon.
The Labor Department will release its 1st Quarter Productivity and Cos ts data early Thursday morning. This information helps us measure employee productivity in the workplace. High levels of productivity help allow low-inflationary economic growth. If employee productivity is rising, the bond market should react favorably. However, a decrease could cause bond prices to drop and mortgage rates to rise Thursday morning. It is expected to show a 0.9% increase in productivity and a 2.5% increase in the labor costs reading.
Friday brings us the release of the almighty Employment report, giving us April's employment statistics. This is where we may see a huge rally or major sell-off in the bond market and large changes in mortgage rates. The ideal situation for the bond and mortgage markets would be a larger than expected increase in the unemployment rate and more payrolls lost during the month than was expected.
Just how much of an improvement or worsening in rates depends on how much variance there is between forecasts and actual readings. This could turn out to be a wonderful day in the mortgage market, but it also carries risks of seeing mortgage rates move higher if the Labor Department posts stronger than expected readings. Current forecasts are calling for an 8.9% unemployment rate and approximately 620,000 jobs lost during the month.
In addition to this week's economic data, we also have Treasury auctions that can influence bond trading and affect mortgage rates. The Treasury will hold a 10-year Note sale Wednesday and a 30-year Bond sale Thursday. Results of the auctions will be posted at 1:30 PM ET each day. If they were met with a strong demand from investors, we could see bond prices rise enough during afternoon trading to cause downward revisions to mortgage rates. However, lackluster bidding could lead to higher mortgage pricing those afternoons.
Overall, I am expecting to see a fairly active week in mortgage rates. Tomorrow will probably be the l ightest day with no relevant data or events scheduled, but expect to see movement in rates multiple days this week. Tuesday's speech and Friday's Employment report will heavily influence trading, likely making them the most important days. However, Thursday's data and Treasury auction may also lead to noticeable changes in rates. Accordingly, I would strongly recommend maintaining contact with your mortgage professional the next few days 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