There are six relevant economic reports scheduled for release this week in addition to the minutes from the most recent Fed monetary policy meeting. With at least one piece of data being posted each day this week, it is fairly safe to assume that we will see another active week in the financial and mortgage markets.
Unlike many Mondays, tomorrow does bring us one of those reports. July's Personal Income and Outlays report will be released early tomorrow morning, giving us a measurement of consumer ability to spend and current spending habits. It is expected to show an increase of 0.2% in income and a 0.3% increase in spending. Weaker than expected numbers would be considered good news for the bond market and mortgage rates.
The Conference Board will post their Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for August late Tuesday morning. This index measures consumer sentiment about their personal financial situations, giving us a measurement of consumer willingness to spend. That is important because consumer spending makes up two thirds of the U.S. economy. A decline in confidence would indicate that surveyed consumers probably will not make a large purchase in the immediate future. That sign of economic weakness should drive bond prices higher, leading to lower mortgage rates Tuesday. It is expected to show a reading of 50.0, which would be a small decline from July's 50.4. The lower the reading, the better the news for bonds and mortgage pricing.
Also Tuesday is the release of the minutes from the last FOMC meeting. There is a pretty good possibility of the markets reacting to them following their 2:00 PM ET release, especially if they show some divisiveness by its members. It will be interesting to see some of the Fed member's views on the economy and inflation and if they will hint what the Fed's next move may be. But this is one of those events that can cause significant mo vement in rates after its release or be a non-factor. I suspect that this particular release will cause a little movement in bond prices, but not enough to significantly affect mortgage pricing.
Wednesday's only important news is the release of the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing index at 10:00 AM ET. This index measures manufacturer sentiment and is expected to show 53.0, which would be a decline from last month's reading of 55.5. A reading above 50 means that more surveyed manufacturers felt business improved during the month than those who felt it worsened. A larger than expected decline in the index would likely cause selling in the stock markets and lead to an improvement in mortgage rates Wednesday.
There are two reports scheduled for Thursday. The first is the revised 2nd Quarter Productivity numbers, which measures employee productivity in the workplace. Strong levels of productivity allow the economy to expand without in flation concerns. It is expected to show a downward change from the previous estimate of a 0.9% decline. Forecasts are currently calling for a 1.6% drop, meaning productivity was weaker than previously thought. This would be negative news for the bond market and mortgage rates.
July's Factory Orders data will also be released Thursday morning. This report measures manufacturing sector strength and is similar to last week's Durable Goods Orders, but includes orders for both durable and non-durable goods. It is expected to show a 0.3% increase in new orders. A smaller than expected rise would be favorable for bonds, but I don't see this data causing much movement in rates unless its results vary greatly from forecasts.
The biggest news of the week comes Friday morning. The Labor Department will post the unemployment rate, number of new jobs added or lost and average hourly earnings for August early Friday morning. The ideal scenario f or the bond market and mortgage rates is rising unemployment, a larger than expected drop in payrolls and earnings to remain unchanged. Analysts are expecting to see that the unemployment rate moved from 9.5% to 9.6% and that 118,000 jobs were lost during the month. Weaker then expected readings would be very good news for bonds and lead to lower mortgage rates Friday. However, if we get stronger than expected numbers, mortgage rates will probably spike higher Friday.