August 10th, 2009 11:57 AM by Mel Samick
Monday's bond market has opened up slightly as traders prepare for this week's data and other important events. The stock markets are showing minor losses with the Dow down 64 points and the Nasdaq down 16 points. The bond market is currently up66 basis points, but we will likely see an improvement in this morning's rates. There is no relevant economic data scheduled for release today. The rest of the week brings us the release of six relevant economic reports in addition to another FOMC meeting. The first is Employee Productivity and Costs data for the second quarter that will be released tomorrow morning. It will give us an indication of employee output. High levels of productivity are believed to allow the economy to grow without fears of inflation. I don't see this being a big mover of mortgage pricing, but since it is the only data of the day it may influence rates slightly. Analysts are currently expecting to see an increase in productivity of 5.4%. A higher than expected reading could help improve bonds, leading to lower mortgage rates tomorrow.The FOMC meeting will begin tomorrow morning and adjourn at 2:15 PM ET Wednesday. It is expected to yield no change to key interest rates. Usually, the post-meeting comments seem to have more of an influence on the markets than the rate adjustments themselves, or a lack of one in many cases. Look for the statement to lead to volatility during afternoon trading if it hints at what the Fed's next move may be and when it will come. If the statement does not give us new information, mortgage rates will probably move little after its release. The most important data of the week comes Thursday and Friday when we will get measurements of consumer spending, inflation at the consumer level of the economy, industrial production and consumer sentiment. This is where we will probably see the most movement in rates. Also worth noting are two important Treasury auctions this week. The sale of 10-year Notes will be held Wednesday while 30-year Bonds will be sold Thursday. We often see some weakness in bonds ahead of the sales as the firms participating prepare for them. However, as long as they are met with decent demand from investors, the firms usually buy them back. This tends to help recover any presale losses. But, if the sales are met with a lackluster interest from investors, particularly international buyers, the bond market may move lower after the results are posted and mortgage rates may move higher. Those results will be announced at 1:00 PM each sale day. Overall, look for the most movement in bond prices and mortgage rates the second half of the week. Thursday or Friday will likely turn out to be the most important day. If we get stronger than expected results in the Retail Sales report and Consumer Price Index, I fear that we may see mortgage rates spike higher fairly quickly. I suspect the FOMC meeting will not have as much of an influence on mortgage rates as recent meetings have, but the markets can react wildly to a single word or omission of a word in the statement, so we need to be cautious. This is certainly another week that continuous contact with your mortgage professional is highly recommended if you are still floating an interest rate.