Mortgage Market Update
This week is very light in terms of the number of economic reports that are scheduled for release that may influence mortgage rates. There are three monthly or quarterly reports set to be posted, but none are considered to be highly important to the markets. We saw rates make a nice move lower Friday after a rough middle part of the week, leaving rates nearly unchanged from last Monday’s opening levels. This week should be much calmer for the mortgage market with fewer intra-day revisions than last week unless something very much unexpected happens. June's Factory Orders data is the first data of the week at 10:00 AM ET Tuesday. This report helps us measure manufacturing sector strength by tracking orders for both durable and non-durable goods during the month of June. It is similar to the Durable Goods Orders report that tracks orders for big-ticket items only, which was posted late last month. Since a significant portion of the data was released then, this report likely will not have much of an impact on the markets. Analysts are expecting to see an increase in new orders of approximately 0.5%. A smaller than expected increase would be considered good news for bonds and mortgage pricing, but I don't believe this report will have a significant impact on Tuesday's mortgage rates either way. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) will post their Services Index for July late Tuesday morning also. This index is somewhat similar to last Friday's ISM Manufacturing Index but tracks sentiment at the services level rather than manufacturing. It has the potential to impact bond trading and mortgage rates if it shows a sizable variance from forecasts, particularly when little other data is being posted. However, it usually has little influence on mortgage pricing and cannot be considered a key report. Current forecasts are calling for a reading of 56.5, up from June's reading of 56.0. Employee Productivity and Costs data for the second quarter will conclude this week’s monthly and quarterly report schedule early Friday morning. It will give us an indication of employee output per hour. 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 rates either, but it may influence rates slightly during morning trading. Analysts have predicted a 1.4% increase in productivity during the second quarter and a 2.0% decline in labor costs. A larger increase in the productivity reading and a smaller than expected rise in costs could help improve bonds, contributing to slightly lower mortgage rates Friday. Overall, any day of the week could end up being the most active with such little on the calendar. Tuesday has two reports so we can label it as the best candidate, although a sizable move in stocks could cause a larger move in rates than these reports are likely to do. I am not expecting to see nearly as much volatility in rates this week as we saw last week, but there still is a decent chance of seeing rates move multiple days.