August 24th, 2009 11:04 AM by Lehel Szucs
This week brings us the release of six relevant economic releases for the bond market to watch in addition to two important Treasury auctions. There is no relevant data or news expected to be released tomorrow, so look for the stock markets to heavily influence bond trading and mortgage rates until we get to the factual economic reports.
The Conference Board will post this week's first relevant economic report late Tuesday morning with the release of August's Consumer Confidence Index (CCI). This index measures consumer sentiment about their own financial situations, giving us a measurement of willingness to spend. That is important because consumer spending makes up two thirds of the U.S. economy. A decline would indicate that consumers may not be making large purchases in the immediate future. That sign of economic weakness should drive bond prices higher, leading to lower mortgage rates Tuesday. It is expected to show a reading of 48.0 , which would be an increase from July's 46.6.
The Commerce Department will post July's Durable Goods Orders Wednesday morning, giving us an important measure of manufacturing sector strength. This data tracks orders at U.S. factories for big-ticket items, or products that are expected to last three or more years. A much weaker reading than the expected 3.2% rise that is expected would indicate that the manufacturing sector is not as strong as thought. This would be good news for bonds and should lead to lower mortgage rates.
Also scheduled for release Wednesday is July's New Home Sales data. This report is the least important release of the week. It will give us an indication of housing sector strength and mortgage credit demand, but only tracks approximately 15% of all home sales. It usually doesn't have a major impact on bond prices or mortgage rates unless it varies greatly from forecasts.
Thursday's only data is th e first revision to the 2nd Quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Last month's preliminary reading revealed that the economy declined at an annual rate of 1.0%. A larger than expected downward revision should help lower mortgage rates Thursday, especially if the inflation portion of the release does not get revised higher. Current forecasts are calling for a revised reading of down 1.4%. There will be a final revision issued next month, but it probably will have little impact on mortgage rates.
Friday is a multi-release day with the release of July's Personal Income and Outlays report and the University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment. The income and spending data measures consumer ability to spend and current spending habits. It is expected to show an increase of 0.1% in income and a 0.2% increase in spending. Weaker than expected numbers would be good news for the bond market and mortgage rates.
August's revision to the U niversity of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment is also due Friday morning. It gives us a measurement of consumer willingness to spend. It is expected to show an upward revision from August's preliminary reading of 61.7. If it revises lower, consumers were less confident about their personal financial situations than previously thought. This would be good news for the bond market and mortgage rates.
Also worth mentioning are a couple of Treasury auctions that may affect bond trading and mortgage rates this week. The two most important are Wednesday's 5-year Note and Thursday's 7-year Note sales. Results of this week's auctions will be posted 1:00 PM ET each day. If investor interest is strong in the auctions, we can expect the broader bond market to rally and mortgage rates to move lower. However, lackluster demand could lead to bond selling and higher mortgage rates Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.
Overall, we will likely see the most activity in rates Tuesday morning, but Wednesday and Thursday are also important. If we manage to get weaker than expected results in the key reports and the auctions go well, we should see mortgage rates close the week lower than tomorrow's opening levels. But stronger than expected results in the economic reports and disappointing results in the Treasury sales will most likely lead to rates moving higher this 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... 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.
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