July 12th, 2009 8:43 PM by Lehel Szucs
This week brings us the release of five important economic reports for the bond market to digest. Several of these reports are considered to be of high importance, meaning we will likely see volatility in the financial markets and mortgage pricing over the next several days. There are also plenty of corporate earnings releases scheduled for the stock markets this week along with the minutes from the last FOMC meeting.
The first piece of data comes Tuesday morning with the release of June's Producer Price Index (PPI). The PPI is very important because it measures inflationary pressures at the producer level of the economy. It is expected to show a 0.8% increase in the overall reading and a 0.1% rise in the core data reading. The core reading is the more important of the two because it excludes more volatile food and energy prices. The bond market should react quite favorably if we get weaker than expected readings, but a larger than expected jump in the core reading could send mortgage rates higher Tuesday.
June's Retail Sales report will also be posted Tuesday. The Commerce Department is expected to say that sales at retail establishments rose 0.5% last month. This data is considered to be of high importance because it measures consumer spending. Consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy, so any related data is watched closely. A smaller than expected increase in sales could help fuel a bond rally and lead to lower mortgage rates, depending on the results of the PPI report.
Next on tap is Wednesday's release of June's Consumer Price Index (CPI). It is a mirror of Tuesday's PPI with the exception that the CPI measures inflation at the more important consumer level of the economy. Analysts have forecasted a 0.6% increase in the overall index and a 0.1% rise in the core data. The core data is also considered to be the key reading because it gives us a more stable measure of inflat ion. Higher than expected readings could raise inflation fears and push mortgage rates higher both days.
June's Industrial Production data will also be posted Wednesday morning. This data measures output and U.S. factories, mines and utilities, giving us an indication of manufacturing sector strength. It is expected to show a 0.6% decline in production, indicating that the manufacturing sector showed weakening conditions during the month. That is basically good news for bonds, however, with seasonal shutdowns and auto-related weakness likely included, a sizable decline should not surprise many.
Also worth noting about Wednesday is the release of the minutes from the last FOMC meeting. There is a possibility of the markets reacting to them following their 2:00 PM ET release, especially if they show some divisiveness by its members during discussion and voting at the last meeting or give any indication of the Fed's possible next move with mo netary policy.
There is no relevant monthly or quarterly data scheduled for release Thursday. Friday's only relevant data is June's Housing Starts report. This data gives us an indication of housing sector strength, but is not considered to be of high importance. Analysts are currently expecting to see a small decline in new starts of housing projects. However, I don't see this data having much of an impact on mortgage rates Friday unless it varies greatly from forecasts.
Overall, I think we will probably see the most movement in mortgage pricing Tuesday or Wednesday due to the importance of the economic releases those days. The week's corporate earnings also have the potential to heavily influence bond trading and mortgage rates via stock market swings. If the major earnings reports show better than expected results, we can expect to see the major stock indexes rally. This would lead to a shift of funds from bonds to stocks and in the process bonds will fall. The results would be higher mortgage rates. The other possibility is weaker than expected results from the key companies that would lead to stock selling and a bond market rally. One thing is safe bet though- it will likely be an active week for the markets and mortgage rates. Accordingly, 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... 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