Friday’s bond market has opened down slightly due to stronger than expected economic data. The stock markets are pretty flat with the Dow down 5 points and the Nasdaq down 1 point. The bond market is currently down 3/32 (2.35%), but we still should see a slight improvement in this morning’s mortgage rates due to strength in bonds late yesterday.
This morning had two important reports released. The first came at 8:30 AM ET when the Commerce Department announced that retail-level sales rose 0.3% last month, matching forecasts. A secondary reading that excludes more volatile auto transactions also showed a 0.3% increase when analysts were expecting a 0.2% rise. This means that consumers spent more in October than they did in September, although not much more than many had thought. Still, we should consider the data neutral to slightly negative for the bond market and mortgage rates.
The final mortgage-relevant report of the week was posted just before 10:00 AM ET. This was the preliminary reading of the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment. It showed a reading of 89.4 that exceeded forecasts by almost two points. That indicates consumers felt stronger about their own financial situations and are likely to make a large purchase in the near future. Therefore, we should consider the news negative for mortgage rates because consumer spending fuels economic growth.
Next week is pretty busy in terms of the number of economic reports set for release. They include a couple of key inflation readings and the minutes from the most recent FOMC meeting. There is a relatively minor report being posted Monday (October’s Industrial Production), but it can influence rates slightly if it varies greatly from forecasts. Look for details on next week’s calendar in Sunday evening’s weekly preview.