August 31st, 2009 7:28 AM by Lehel Szucs
There are four relevant economic reports scheduled for release this week in addition to the minutes from the most recent Fed monetary policy meeting. There is no relevant data scheduled for release tomorrow, so look for the stock markets to directly affect bond trading and mortgage rates.
The first piece of data comes Tuesday morning with the release of the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing index at 10:00 AM ET. This index measures manufacturer sentiment and is expected to show an increase from last month's reading of 48.9. A reading above 50 means that more surveyed manufacturers felt business improved during the month than those who felt it worsened. A larger than expected increase in the index will probably cause a rally in the stock markets and lead to mortgage rates rising Tuesday, while a reading below 50 should lead to lower rates. Analysts are expecting a reading of 50.2, which would be the first reading above 50.0 since January 2 008 and indicate that the manufacturing sector is growing.
The second report of the week is the revision to the 2nd Quarter Productivity numbers, which measures employee productivity in the workplace. Strong levels of productivity allow the economy to expand without inflation concerns. It is expected to show a downward change from the previous estimate of a 6.4% annual pace. Forecasts are currently calling for a reading of 6.1%. A larger than expected reading would be considered good news for bonds and mortgage rates.
Also Wednesday morning comes July's Factory Orders data. This report measures manufacturing sector strength and is similar to last week's Durable Goods Orders, but includes orders for both durable and non-durable goods. This data is expected to show a 1.5% increase in new orders. A smaller than expected rise should lead to lower mortgage rates Wednesday, as long as the productivity number doesn't hurt bond prices.
The third and final event for Wednesday is the release of the minutes from the last FOMC meeting. There is a pretty good possibility of the markets reacting to them following their 2:00 PM ET release, especially if they show some divisiveness by its members. It will be interesting to see some of the Fed member's views on the economy and inflation and if they will hint what the Fed's next move may be. But this is one of those events that can cause significant movement in rates after its release or be a non-factor. It generally causes a little movement in bond prices but not enough to significantly affect mortgage pricing.
The big news of the week comes Friday morning. The Labor Department will post the unemployment rate, number of new jobs added or lost and average hourly earnings for August early Friday. The ideal scenario for the bond market and mortgage rates is rising unemployment, a larger than expected drop in payrolls and earnings to remain unchang ed. Analysts are expecting to see that the unemployment rate moved from 9.4% to 9.5% and that 225,000 jobs were lost during the month. Weaker then expected readings would be very good news for bonds and lead to lower mortgage rates Friday. However, if we get stronger than expected numbers, mortgage rates will probably spike higher Friday.
Overall, I expect to see the most movement in rates Friday, but Tuesday and Wednesday should also be fairly active. Tomorrow or Thursday will likely be the calmest day due to the lack of any monthly or quarterly data being posted. Also worth mentioning though is the fact that next Monday is Labor Day so all markets will be closed. The bond market will not close early this Friday, but many traders may head home for the long weekend after Friday's data is posted. This means that trading will likely be thin Friday afternoon even though the markets will still be open. This could lead to additional volatility in rates as traders prepare for the long weekend, so please be careful this week 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