This week is light in terms of the number of economic reports scheduled for release, however, two of the three reports that are scheduled to be posted are considered to be of high importance. With important data being posted only tomorrow and Friday, we should see several days of little movement in mortgage pricing.
The first relevant report of the week comes late tomorrow morning when the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) will release their manufacturing index. This index gives us an important measurement of manufacturer sentiment by surveying trade executives. A reading above 50 means more surveyed executives felt business improved during the month than those who said it had worsened. This month's report is expected to show a decline from last month's reading, with current forecasts calling for a reading of 51.0.
February's Factory Orders will be posted early Wednesday morning. This data is similar to last week's Durable Goods Orders report, except that this report includes orders for both durable and non-durable goods. Unless it varies greatly from forecasts of a 2.0% rise, I suspect that it will be a non-event in the mortgage market.
The other important report of the week will be posted Friday morning. The Labor Department will release March's Employment report, giving us the U.S. unemployment rate and the number of jobs added to the economy. This is an extremely important report to the financial and mortgage markets. It is expected to show a slight increase in the unemployment rate to 4.6% and approximately 120,000 payrolls added during the month. The ideal scenario for the bond market and mortgage rates would be an increase in the unemployment rate and a smaller than expected number of new jobs.
Also worth noting about Friday is an early close of the bond market due to the Good Friday holiday. The bond market is expected to close at 10:30 AM ET Friday and will reopen the following Monday morning. This may add additional volatility in the bond market after the release of the employment numbers as a result of the shortened trading window.
Overall, I expect to see the most movement in rates either tomorrow or Friday. Friday is the most important day of the week with the employment numbers being released, but we will likely see a fair amount of movement in rates tomorrow also. In between we should see fairly calm days as long as the stock markets don't stage significant rallies or a sell-off.
If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Lock if my closing was taking place within 7 days... Lock if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days... Float if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days... Float if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now... This is only my opinion of what I would do if I were financing a home. It is only an opinion and cannot be guaranteed to be in the best interest of all/any other borrowers.