Friday’s bond market has opened up slightly despite early stock strength. The major stock indexes appear ready to close the week with solid gains, pushing the Dow higher by 114 points and the Nasdaq up 11 points. The bond market is currently up 2/32 (1.89%), which should keep this morning’s mortgage rates close to yesterday’s levels.
The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment was this morning’s only relevant economic data. It came just before 10:00 AM ET, showing a reading of 90.0 for March. This was a couple points lower than expectations of 92.2 and was a decline from February’s final reading of 91.7 when analysts were expecting to see an increase. That reading indicates surveyed consumers were less optimistic about their own financial and employment situations than they were last month. Because waning confidence usually means weaker levels of consumer spending that fuels economic growth, we can consider this morning’s data good news for mortgage rates.
Next week brings us a handful of economic reports that may affect mortgage rates but most of them are considered to be only moderately important to the markets. There is data Monday when the National Association of Realtors posts February’s Existing Home Sales figures. It will give a measurement of housing sector strength. However, it isn’t one of the more important reports we see each month and usually causes changes to mortgage pricing if it shows a noticeable variance from forecasts.
Friday of next week is Good Friday, so it will be a holiday-shortened week with the markets closed Friday and an early close in the bond market Thursday. Look for details on all of next week’s relevant events in Sunday evening’s weekly preview.