This week brings us little that is expected to affect mortgage rates with only two monthly economic reports on the calendar. Corporate earnings season gets into high gear, which may end up being the biggest influence on rates. There is nothing set for tomorrow or Tuesday, so it is a good possibility that stocks will be in the forefront as the new week kicks off.
June's Housing Starts will be released 8:30 AM ET Wednesday, giving us an indication of housing sector strength and future mortgage credit demand. It usually doesn't cause much movement in mortgage rates unless it varies greatly from forecasts. Wednesday's release is expected to show a rise in construction starts of new homes last month. The lower the number of starts, the better the news it is for the bond market, as it would indicate a weaker than expected new home portion of the housing sector.
Alcoa is expected to post their earnings after the market closes Wednesday, so it will have an impact on overnight and early morning trading Thursday. This company isn't necessarily key to gauging economic strength, but it is the first Dow component company that posts earnings each quarter. Since it is the first look into Dow-related earnings, it draws plenty of attention in the markets. However, there are plenty of other earnings releases that will also be in the spotlight. Generally speaking, weaker corporate earnings translates into stock selling that makes bonds more attractive to investors. As bond buying pushes prices higher, yields fall and mortgage rates usually track bond yields.
Late Thursday morning will be the release of June's Leading Economic Indicators (LEI). 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 0.4% increase, meaning it is predicting gains in economic growth over the next few months. A decline in the index would be good news for the bond and mortgage markets.
Overall, we should see a calmer week in the markets and mortgage rates than the past couple. No single day stands out as the most important day of the week and the least active day will probably be Friday. Despite the lack of key economic data or any events that clearly will cause volatility, it still would be prudent to maintain contact with you mortgage professional as momentum can pick up at any time, especially if earnings are generally strong or weak.