Monday’s bond market opened in positive territory despite early stock gains and mixed economic news. The stock markets are kicking the week off in positive ground with the Dow up 119 points and the Nasdaq up 27 points. The bond market is currently up 5/32, which with Friday’s late gains should improve this morning’s mortgage rates by approximately .250 of a discount point.
The Commerce Department reported this morning that October’s Retail Sales rose 1.4%, exceeding forecasts of a 0.9% increase. At first look, this headline number is bad news for bonds. However, two factors prevented the bond market from selling. The first was a sizable downward revision to September’s sales that indicated consumers were spending even less than previously thought. Last month’s estimate was a decline of 1.5% in sales, but it now believed that sales fell 2.3% that month. The second piece of positive news was the reading that excludes October’s more volatile auto sales. With those transactions excluded, sales rose only 0.2%, which was weaker than the 0.4% that was expected. So, today’s report can’t really be considered favorable or negative for bonds and mortgage rates. Its impact has been fairly neutral.
Fed Chairman Bernanke is making a lunchtime speech to the Economic Club of New York today. I don’t believe that we will see too much reaction to his speech, but the possibility always exists whenever he speaks. Therefore, we should not ignore it, but if we see the markets move noticeably between noon and 12:30 PM ET, it likely is a result of something he said.
There are two reports scheduled to be posted tomorrow morning. The first is October's Producer Price Index (PPI) that is one of the two key inflation readings this week. The PPI measures inflationary pressures at the producer level of the economy. There are two portions of the index that are used- the overall reading and the core data reading. The core data is the more important of the two because it excludes more volatile food and energy prices. If it reveals stronger than expected readings, indicating that inflationary pressures are rising, the bond market will probably react negatively and should drive mortgage rates higher. If we see in-line or weaker than expected numbers, mortgage rates should fall tomorrow. Current forecasts are calling for an increase of 0.5% in the overall reading and a 0.1% increase in the core reading.
Tomorrow’s second report is October's Industrial Production data. It gives us a measurement of manufacturing sector strength by tracking output at U.S. factories, mines and utilities. It is expected to reveal a 0.4% increase in production. Stronger levels of production would be considered bad news for the bond market and mortgage rates, but this data is not as important as the PPI readings are.
Source: Ken Mason, California Mortgage
November 16, 2009