May 7th, 2012
There are only three pieces of relevant economic data scheduled for release this week that may affect mortgage rates, in addition to two important Treasury auctions. The two most important reports will be posted Friday, meaning the markets will have to rely on factors other than economic news for direction most of the week.
There is no relevant economic data due until Thursday, so expect the stock markets to be a big influence on bond trading and mortgage rates until then.
The Treasury will hold a 10-year Note sale Wednesday and a 30-year Bond sale Thursday. Results of the auctions will be posted at 1:00 PM ET each day. If they are met with a strong demand from investors, we could see bond prices rise enough during afternoon trading to cause downward revisions to mortgage rates. However, lackluster bidding in the sale, meaning longer-term securities are losing their appeal, could lead to higher mortgage pricing those afternoons.
March’s Goods and Services Trade Balance report will be released early Thursday morning. This report gives us the size of the U.S. trade deficit but likely will not have much of an impact on the bond market or mortgage pricing. It is expected to show a $49.9 billion trade deficit, but it is the least important of this week’s data and likely will have little influence on Thursday’s mortgage rates.
Friday has the remaining two reports. April’s Producer Price Index (PPI) is the first at 8:30 AM ET. It helps us measure inflationary pressures at the producer level of the economy. If this report reveals weaker than expected readings, indicating inflation is not a concern at the producer level, we should see the bond market rally. The overall index is expected to show no change, while the core data that excludes more volatile food and energy prices has been forecasted to rise 0.2%. A decline in the core data would be ideal for mortgage shoppers because inflation is the number one nemesis for long-term securities such as mortgage-related bonds.
The last report of the week is May’s preliminary reading to the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment. This index measures consumer willingness to spend, which relates to consumer spending. If consumers are more confident of their own financial situations, they are more apt to make large purchases in the near future. This report usually has a moderate impact on the financial markets though, because it is not exactly factual data. It is expected to show a reading of 76.2, which would be a small decline from last month’s final reading. If it shows a large decline in consumer confidence, bond prices could rise and mortgage rates would move slightly lower because waning confidence means consumers are less apt to make a large purchase in the near future. That is assuming the PPI does not give us a significant surprise though. The PPI is much more important to the bond market than the sentiment index is, so look for it to be the biggest influence on Friday’s mortgage pricing.
Overall, it likely will be a moderately active week for mortgage rates. Besides the week’s economic news, look for the stock markets to be a major influence on trading. The most important day of the week is Friday with the PPI report on the agenda, but Wednesday’s 10-year Note auction could also heavily sway bond trading. It appears we will likely see the most movement in mortgage rates the latter part of the week unless the stock markets post sizable gains or losses the first part.