July 18th, 2011
This week is quite light in terms of relevant economic releases and events that are relevant to mortgage rates, especially if comparing to the past couple weeks. This doesn’t mean we won’t see movement in mortgage rates, but I believe it will be a much less volatile week in the markets unless something very much unexpected happens.
There are only three economic reports scheduled for the financial and mortgage markets to digest and none of them are considered to be of high importance to the markets. Considering that the 10-year Treasury Note again fell below and closed under the benchmark 3.00% last week, we have bond market yields at a point of potential downward movement or an upward spike.
The first economic report of the week comes Tuesday morning with the release of June’s Housing Starts. This data gives us an indication of housing sector strength by tracking construction starts of new homes, but is not considered to be of high importance.
Analysts are currently expecting to see a small rise in new starts. However, I don’t see this data having much of an impact on mortgage rates Tuesday unless it varies greatly from forecasts.
The National Association of Realtors will post June’s Existing Home Sales figures late Wednesday morning. This report gives us a measurement of housing sector strength and mortgage credit demand, but as with all of this week’s data it is not considered highly important. Current forecasts are calling for a small increase in sales from May’s totals.
A drop in sales would be considered good news for bonds and mortgage rates because a weak housing sector would make it difficult for the economy to recover anytime soon. However, unless this data varies greatly from forecasts it probably will lead to only a minor change in mortgage rates.
June’s Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) will be posted at 10:00 AM Thursday. This Conference Board index attempts to measure economic activity over the next three to six months. While it is not a factual report, it still is considered to be of moderate importance to the bond market. It is expected to show a 0.3% increase, meaning that we may see a gain in economic activity over the next few months. A smaller rise in the index would be good news for the bond and mortgage markets.
Overall, this is a moderately significant week for the bond market and mortgage rates. With no highly important economic data to drive the markets and mortgage pricing, we likely will see the stock markets influence mortgage rates. If the major stock indexes rally, funds will probably move away from bonds, driving yields and mortgage rates higher. But weakness in stocks would fuel bond buying and lower mortgage rates for borrowers.
I am going to remain pessimistic towards rates, at least near term until the 10-year Note yield remains under 3.00% for some time. It is my opinion that we are more likely to see it move back above 3.00% before we see a new downward trend start. Accordingly, this leads me to remain cautious towards rates, at least for the time being.