Mortgage Market Update
This week has little in terms of economic data scheduled that is expected to influence mortgage rates with only one relevant monthly report and the minutes from the most recent FOMC meeting on the calendar. This means stocks may have a bigger impact on bonds and mortgage pricing than they usually do and makes it harder to predict which day(s) will be the most active. February's Factory Orders will be released Monday morning. This data is similar to the Durable Goods Orders report, except it includes orders for both durable and non-durable goods. It will give us another measurement of manufacturing sector strength. This report is considered to be only moderately important to the bond and mortgage markets, so unless it varies greatly from forecasts of a 1.6% decline, I suspect that the data will have a minimal impact on Thursday's mortgage rates. The biggest event of the week will come Wednesday afternoon when the minutes from the last FOMC meeting will be released. Market participants will be looking at them closely as they give us insight to the Fed's current thought process and individual Fed member opinions. Any surprises in the 2:00 PM ET release, particularly about inflation, economic conditions or when the next rate hike will take place, could cause afternoon volatility in the markets Wednesday and possible changes in mortgage pricing. Overall, look for the most movement in rates the mid part of the week. Wednesday could be the most active day of the week if the FOMC minutes reveal any surprises. If not, the best bet would be Monday. Tuesday appears to be the lightest and will probably be the calmest day for mortgage rates. Look for the stock markets to also influence bond trading and mortgage rates a good part of the week due to the light economic release schedule.