December 5th, 2011
This week is fairly light in terms of the number of economic releases scheduled for release. There are only three monthly or quarterly reports on the agenda that have the potential to influence mortgage rates and none of them are considered to be highly important. That means that the stock markets could be the focal point multiple days, especially the middle part of the week.
October’s Factory Orders is the first, coming late this morning. This report is similar to the Durable Goods Orders report that was released the week before last, except this one includes manufacturing orders for both durable and non-durable goods. This data usually isn’t a major influence on bond trading, but with little data this week that can impact mortgage rates, it could draw more attention than usual. Analysts are expecting to see a decline in new orders of approximately 0.4%. The larger decline, the better the news for bond prices and mortgage rates because it would signal manufacturing sector weakness.
There is no other relevant economic news scheduled for release until Friday morning. October’s Goods and Services Trade Balance report will be posted early Friday morning. This report gives us the size of the U.S. trade deficit, but it is considered to be of low importance to mortgage rates. It is expected to show a $44.0 billion trade deficit. Unless it varies greatly from forecasts, I don’t expect this data to affect mortgage pricing Friday.
Also Friday is the release of December’s preliminary reading to the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment. This index measures consumer willingness to spend and can usually have enough of an impact on the financial markets to change mortgage rates slightly. Consumer sentiment or confidence is tracked because the more comfortable consumers are about their own financial situations, the more likely they are to make a large purchase in the near future. Since consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the economy, any related data is watched closely. Friday’s release is expected to show a reading of 65.0, which would be an increase from last month’s final reading. A decline in confidence would be considered good news for the bond market and mortgage rates.
Overall, today will probably bring us the most movement in rates as the markets digest weekend news. I don’t believe we will see as much volatility in the stock markets as we saw last week though. Interestingly, despite the sizable rally in stocks last week, mortgage rates didn’t take much of a hit. Even though mortgage bonds showed resilience last week, I still think that the upward risk outweighs the likelihood of seeing noticeable improvements in rates in the immediate future. Therefore, I recommend maintaining contact with your mortgage professional if still floating an interest rate.