This holiday-shortened week brings us the release of four relevant economic reports for the markets to digest in addition to a couple of potentially relevant Treasury auctions. None of the reports are considered to be key data though. The financial and mortgage markets will be closed tomorrow in observance of the Memorial Day holiday and will reopen for regular trading Tuesday morning. Accordingly, we will not be updating this report tomorrow.
The Conference Board starts the week's calendar with their Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) at 10:00 AM Tuesday. This data measures consumer willingness to spend. If the index rises, it indicates that consumers felt better about their personal financial and employment situations than they did last month and therefore are more apt to make large purchases in the near future. If confidence is sliding, analysts think consumer spending may slow in the near future. The latter is good news for the bond market because consumer spending is such a big portion of the U.S. economy. A decline in the index should boost bond prices and push mortgage rates lower Tuesday morning while a larger than expected reading would likely cause rates to move slightly higher. It is expected to show a reading of 130.0, up from April's 129.2 reading.
Also Tuesday is the first of this week's two Treasury auctions that are worth watching. The Fed will auction 5-year Notes Tuesday and 7-year Notes Wednesday. Neither of these sales will directly impact mortgage pricing, but they can influence general bond market sentiment. If the sales go poorly, we could see broader selling in the bond market that leads to upward revisions to mortgage rates. On the other hand, strong sales usually make bonds more attractive to investors, bringing more funds into bonds. The buying of bonds that follows often translates into lower mortgage rates. Results of the sales will be posted at 1:00 PM ET each auction day, so look for any reaction to come during afternoon hours Tuesday and Wednesday.
Thursday’s release will be the first revision to the 1st quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The GDP is the sum of all goods and services produced in the U.S. and is considered to be the best measurement of economic growth. Last month's preliminary reading revealed a 3.2% annual rate of growth. Analysts expect to see 3.1% in this update. If the revision comes in stronger than the last estimate, we may see the bond market react negatively and mortgage rates move higher because it would mean the economy was stronger than thought last quarter. Since bonds tend to thrive in weaker economic conditions, a softer than predicted reading would be good news for mortgage rates.
Friday has two reports set for release, starting with April's Personal Income and Outlays data at 8:30 AM ET. This Commerce Department report gives us an indication of consumer ability to spend and current spending habits. An increase in income means that consumers have more money available to spend. Since consumer spending makes up over two-thirds of our economy, this data can cause movement in the financial markets and mortgage rates. Current forecasts are showing a 0.3% increase in income and a 0.2% rise in spending. Weaker readings would be considered good news for bonds and mortgage rates.
The last mortgage-related data of the week will come from the University of Michigan late Friday morning when they update their Index of Consumer Sentiment for May. This type of data is watched fairly closely because when consumers are feeling more confident about their own financial situations, they are more likely to make a large purchase in the near future. Rising confidence and the higher levels of spending that usually follow are considered negative news for bonds and mortgage rates. Friday's report is expected to show a downward adjustment to this month's preliminary reading of 102.4. A higher reading would be considered bad news for bonds and mortgage pricing while a large decline should help boost bond prices and lead to a slight improvement in rates.
Overall, Friday is the best candidate for most important day for rates due to the two economic reports being posted. The stock markets may also be a driving force in this week’s trading, which can come into play any day. We saw a positive reaction to Brexit-related news last week, but unless more favorable news comes, we could see a reversal of those gains soon. Accordingly, please maintain contact with your mortgage professional if still floating an interest rate and closing in the near future.