September 20th, 2009 6:52 PM by Lehel Szucs
This week brings us the release of five relevant economic reports in addition to another FOMC meeting and two important Treasury auctions. None of the factual reports are considered to be highly important. In fact, most of the economic news is considered to be only moderately important. This should help limit the possibility of significant changes to mortgage rates most days this week.
Unlike many Mondays, there is relevant data being posted tomorrow. The Conference Board will release its Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) for August late tomorrow morning. This index attempts to measure economic activity over the next three to six months. It is expected to show a 0.7% rise, meaning that it is predicting a sizable increase in economic activity over the next several months. A larger than expected reading would be considered bad news for bonds and could lead to a minor increase in mortgage rates tomorrow.
There is nothing of importance scheduled for release Tuesday, but the first of this week's two important Treasury sales will take place Wednesday and the Fed's two-day FOMC meeting will adjourn Wednesday afternoon. The Treasury will sell 5-year Notes Wednesday and 7-year Notes Thursday. If investor demand in these sales is strong, particularly from international buyers, the broader bond market should move higher pushing mortgage rates lower. But a lackluster interest from investors could lead to bond selling and higher mortgage pricing. The results of each sale will be announced at 1:00 PM ET each day, so any reaction to the results will come during afternoon trading Wednesday and Thursday.
The FOMC meeting will begin Tuesday and adjourn at 2:15 PM Wednesday. There is little possibility of seeing any type of change to key short-term interest rates. However, the post-meeting statement could very well lead to volatility during afternoon trading as investors dissect it in an effort to fi nd when the Fed's next move may come. The wild card is how the markets react to the statement because the lack of a change to monetary policy will not affect the markets. If we see significant weakness in stocks, the bond market may benefit as a safe-haven from the volatility. This could lead to lower mortgage rates Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.
August's Existing Home Sales report will be released late Thursday morning. The National Association of Realtors posts this data, giving us an indication of housing sector strength by tracking home resales in the U.S. It is expected to show a moderate increase from July's sales, however, this data is not considered to be of high importance to the bond market unless it varies greatly from forecasts.
The remaining three reports will all be released Friday morning. August's Durable Goods Orders will be posted early morning. This report gives us an indication of manufacturing sector strength by tracking orders for big-ticket items at U.S. factories. Current forecasts call for an increase in orders of 0.3%. A smaller than expected increase could help bond prices and cause mortgage rates to drop Friday. However, a larger than expected rise would indicate a stronger than expected manufacturing sector and would likely help push mortgage rates higher.
The second report is the University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment. This is the revised reading for September. The preliminary reading that was released earlier this month revealed a 70.2 reading. Analysts are expecting to see a small upward revision, meaning consumer confidence was slightly higher than previously thought. A lower than expected reading would be good news for bonds and help improve mortgage rates Friday morning.
The final report of the week is August's New Home Sales. It is expected to show that sales of newly constructed homes rose slightly in August. As with most of this week's data, this report will likely not have a significant impact on mortgage rates unless its readings differ greatly from forecasts.
Overall, the single most important report of the week is Friday's Durable Goods Orders, but the most important day will probably be Wednesday due to the FOMC adjournment and the 5-year Treasury Note auction. Thursday's 7-year Note sale is actually a little more important for mortgage rates than Wednesday's auction but the first of the two will give us an idea of what to expect from Thursday's sale. I don't believe any of this week's data has the potential to move the markets or mortgage rates heavily. But, we may some change in rates day-to-day, with the most likely coming mid-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 tak ing 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