September 29th, 2008 9:51 AM by Lehel Szucs
This week brings us the release of five monthly economic reports for the bond market to digest. August's Personal Income and Outlays is the week's first data and will be released tomorrow morning. It gives us an indication of consumer ability to spend and current spending habits. This is important to the markets because consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy. Rising income generally indicates that consumers have more money to spend, making economic growth more of a possibility. This is bad news for the bond market and mortgage rates because it raises inflation concerns, making long-term securities such as mortgage related bonds less attractive to investors. It is expected to show a 0.2% rise in income and a 0.2% increase in spending.
The next is Tuesday's Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for September. This Conference Board index will be posted at 10:00 AM and gives us a measurement of consumer willingness to spend. It is expected to show a decline from last month's reading, indicating that consumers are less likely to make large purchases in the near future. This is good news for the bond market and mortgage rates. Analysts are calling for a reading of approximately 55.0, down from August's 56.9. If we see a larger than expected decline, we should see the bond market move higher and mortgage rates drop Tuesday.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) will post their manufacturing index for September late Wednesday morning. This index gives us an indication of manufacturer sentiment. Analysts are expecting little change from last month's 49.9 reading. The 50.0 benchmark is extremely important because a reading below that level means more surveyed executives felt business worsened than those who said it had improved. This data is important not only because it measures manufacturer sentiment, but it is very recent data. Some economic releases track data that are 30-60 days old, but the ISM index is o nly a few weeks old. If we get a smaller than expected reading, I expect to see the bond market rally and mortgage rates fall Wednesday morning.
The next release is Thursday when the Commerce Department will post August's Factory Orders data. This manufacturing sector report is similar to last week's Durable Goods Orders release, but includes orders for non-durable goods. It can usually impact the financial markets enough to change mortgage rates if it varies from forecasts by a wide margin. Current forecasts are calling for a decline in new orders of approximately 1.8%. An unexpected rise could drive mortgage rates higher, while a weaker than expected reading should push them lower Thursday.
The Labor Department will post September's Employment report early Friday morning. This report will reveal the U.S. unemployment rate, number of new payrolls added and average hourly earnings. These are considered to be very important readings of the employment se ctor and can have a huge impact on the financial markets. The ideal scenario for the bond market is rising unemployment, falling payrolls and a drop in earnings.
Weaker than expected readings should help boost bond prices and lower mortgage rates Friday. However, stronger then forecasted readings could be disastrous for mortgage pricing. Analysts are expecting to see the unemployment rate 6.1%, a decline in new payrolls of approximately 90,000 and a 0.3% increase in earnings.
Overall, it is going to be a very active week in the markets and mortgage rates. The most important day will likely be Friday due to the employment report being scheduled, but Tuesday's and Wednesday's data can also fairly heavily influence mortgage rates. With important data being released each day of the week, I would recommend maintaining contact with your mortgage professional.
If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Loc k 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 2008