August 26th, 2009 2:08 PM by Mel Samick
Wednesday's bond market has opened flat despite stronger than expected economic news. The stock markets are showing minor gains with the Dow up 30 points and the Nasdaq up 6 points. The bond market is nearly unchanged from yesterday's closing level, but we will still likely see a slight improvement in this morning's mortgage rates due to strength in bonds late yesterday.The Commerce Department gave us July's Durable Goods Orders report, showing a 4.9% increase in orders for big-ticket products. This was larger than the 3.2% that was expected and an upward revision to June's orders indicates that the manufacturing sector may be stronger than many had expected. This is bad news for bonds and mortgage rates because strength in manufacturing helps support the theory that the broader economy will recover sooner than later.Also released this morning was July's New Home Sales data that greatly exceeded forecasts. The 9.6% increase in sales of newly constructed homes was well above forecasts and brought them to their best level since September of last year. This also can be considered negative news for bonds because a strengthening housing sector would give a strong boost to the overall economy. However, this data doesn't usually have a significant influence on mortgage rates. We also have today's 5-year Treasury Note auction to watch for. Results of the sale will be posted at 1:00 PM ET. If it was met with a good demand from investors, we could see bond prices rise and mortgage rates drop during afternoon trading. However, a lackluster interest in the sale could lead to bond selling and upward revisions to mortgage rates. Tomorrow's only monthly or quarterly data is the first revision to the 2nd Quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Last month's preliminary reading revealed that the economy declined at an annual rate of 1.0%. A larger than expected downward revision should help lower mortgage rates Thursday, especially if the inflation portion of the release does not get revised higher. Current forecasts are calling for a revised reading of down 1.4%. There will be a final revision issued next month, but it probably will have little impact on mortgage rates.The Labor Department will give us weekly unemployment claims tomorrow morning and the 7-year Note auction is tomorrow also. I don't expect the unemployment figures to have much of an impact on the bond market and mortgage rates, but the Treasury sale could influence rates during afternoon trading.