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Mortgage Rates (9/12/2010 - The Week Ahead)

September 14th, 2010 8:25 AM by Lehel S.

This week brings us the release of five relevant economic reports that may influence mortgage rates. A couple of these reports are considered to be highly important to the financial and mortgage markets, meaning that we may see significant changes to rates this week. There is a very good chance of seeing noticeable changes in rates at least one day, if not several days this week. There is no relevant news scheduled to be posted tomorrow, so look for the stock markets to be the biggest force behind bond trading and changes to mortgage pricing until we get to the data releases.

August's Retail Sales report will be posted early Tuesday morning. It will give us a very important measurement of consumer spending, which is extremely relevant to the markets because it makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy. Current forecasts are calling for a 0.3% increase in sales. Analysts are also calling for a 0.3% rise in sales if more volatile auto sales are excluded. Larger th an expected increases would be considered bad news for bonds and likely lead to an increase in mortgage pricing since it would indicate economic growth.

Wednesday's only data is August's Industrial Production. This report gives us a measurement of manufacturing sector strength by tracking output at U.S. factories, mines and utilities. It is considered to be moderately important but could help change mortgage rates if there is a significant difference between forecasts and the actual reading. Analysts are expecting to see a 0.3% increase in production. A higher level of output could lead to higher mortgage rates, while a weaker than expected figure would hint at a soft manufacturing sector and would be considered good news for bonds and mortgage rates.

One of the week's two important inflation readings will posted by the Labor Department early Thursday morning. This is August's Producer Price Index (PPI), which gives us an important measurement of infla tionary pressures at the producer level of the economy. There are two readings that analysts follow in this release. They are the overall index and the core data reading. The core data is the more important of the two since it excludes more volatile food and energy prices. Analysts are predicting a 0.3% increase in the overall index, and a rise of 0.1% in the core data. Stronger than expected readings could fuel inflation concerns in the bond market. That would be bad news for bonds and mortgage rates because inflation is the number one nemesis of the bond market as it erodes the value of a bond's future fixed interest payments. As inflation becomes more of a concern in the markets, bonds become less appealing to investors, leading to falling prices and higher mortgage rates.

Friday has two reports scheduled, but one is much more important than the other. The first is August's Consumer Price Index (CPI) during early morning hours. The CPI is one of the most imp ortant reports we see each month. It is considered to be a key indicator of inflation at the consumer level of the economy. As with its' sister PPI report, there are two readings in the report- the overall index and the core data reading. Current forecasts show a 0.2% increase in the overall reading and a 0.1% rise in the core data reading. As with the PPI, a larger increase in the core data would likely lead to higher mortgage rates.





The second report of the day and last of the week will be posted by the University of Michigan during late morning trading. Their Index of Consumer Sentiment will give us an indication of consumer confidence, which hints at consumers' willingness to spend. If confidence is rising, consumers are more apt to make large purchases. But, if they are growing more concerned of their personal financial situations, they probably will delay making that large purchase. This influences future consumer spending data and can im pact the financial markets. It is expected to show a reading of 70.0, which would mean confidence rose from August's level. That would be considered bad news for bonds and mortgage rates, but the CPI is much more important to the markets than this data is. Therefore, expect to see the CPI results drive the markets and mortgage pricing much more than this data.

Overall, I think we need to label Tuesday or Friday as the most important day of the week with the Retail Sales and CPI reports being released respectively. However, Thursday's PPI release is also extremely important to the markets, so it cannot be ignored either. Tomorrow will probably end up being the calmest day for mortgage rates, but we still may see minor changes if the stock markets show much movement. I would strongly recommend maintaining fairly constant contact with your mortgage professional 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... 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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Posted by Lehel S. on September 14th, 2010 8:25 AM

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