August 5th, 2008 8:49 AM by Lehel Szucs
This week brings us the release of only three pieces of economic data that are likely to affect mortgage rates. However, the biggest event of the week will be the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting Tuesday. We may see some pressure in bonds tomorrow as investors prepare for the meeting, but most traders will likely make their moves post-meeting Tuesday.
The first important release is June's Personal Income and Outlays data tomorrow morning. The Income & Spending report helps us measure consumer ability to spend and current spending habits. If it shows sizable increases, bond selling could lead to higher mortgage rates. Current forecasts are calling for a decline of 0.1% in income and an increase of 0.5% in spending.
Also scheduled for release tomorrow is June's Factory Orders data. This report helps us measure manufacturing sector strength by tracking orders for both durable and non-durable goods during the month of June. It is similar to last week's Durable Goods Orders report that tracks only orders for big-ticket items. Since a significant portion of the data was released last week, this report may not have as big of an impact on the markets as you may think. Analysts' are expecting to see an increase of approximately 0.7% in new orders.
The FOMC meeting will adjourn at 2:15 PM Tuesday. It is expected to yield no change to key interest rates. Usually, the post-meeting comments seem to have more of an influence on the markets than the rate adjustments themselves, or a lack of one in many cases. Look for the statement to lead to volatility during afternoon trading if it hints at what the Fed's next move may be.
Bond traders will be watching the post meeting statement very carefully. Generally speaking, a hint of rate hikes in the future will be construed as an indication that inflation is still a concern and would likely lead to bond selling and increases to mortga ge rates. If the statement gives an indication that the Fed is not as concerned with inflation as previously noted, the bond market should rally, leading to lower mortgage rates.
Employee Productivity and Costs data for the second quarter will be released Friday morning. It will give us an indication of employee output. High levels of productivity are believed to allow the economy to grow without fears of inflation. I don't see this being a big mover of mortgage pricing, but since it is the only data of the day it may influence rates slightly. Analysts are currently expecting to see an increase in productivity of 2.7%. A higher than expected reading could help improve bonds, leading to lower mortgage rates.
Also worth noting are two important Treasury auctions this week. The sale of 10-year Notes will be held Wednesday while 30-year Bonds will be sold Thursday. We often see some weakness in bonds ahead of the sales as the firms pa rticipating prepare for them. However, as long as they are met with decent demand from investors, the firms usually buy them back. This tends to help recover any presale losses. But, if the sales are met with a lackluster interest from investors- particularly international buyers, the bond market may move lower after the results are posted. Those results will be announced at 1:00 PM each sale day. If there will be revisions to mortgage rates because of the results, look for them to be made during afternoon trading Wednesday and/or Thursday.
Overall, I am expecting to see a choppy week in trading and mortgage rates. We will likely see the most movement in rates Tuesday with the FOMC meeting. Wednesday's Treasury auction may also affect rates during afternoon trading. I suspect that the rest of the week will be driven by stock market gains or losses.
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.
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