For the second week in a row, mortgage markets started the week strong and then ended with a fizzle. In the holiday-shortened week, rates were exactly flat overall.
There wasn’t much economic data to move rates last week, incidentally. The market’s up-and-down action was largely based on two events:
- A reputable analyst said banking-sector optimism may be premature
- Wells Fargo reported a record $3 billion in first quarter earnings
It was the first item that dropped rates Monday and Tuesday; the second item, in part, led them back up.
This week, data returns.
Tuesday, we’ll get a look at Retail Sales. Because consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of the economy, a lower-than-expected figure for Retail Sales would dampen Wall Street’s current optimism for the U.S. and that would likely lead mortgage rates lower.
Next, on Wednesday, the government will release a closely-watched “cost of living” measurement called the Consumer Price Index. At its roots, CPI is an inflation gauge for the economy so — because inflation is bad for mortgage rates — a higher-than-expected CPI number is expected to push mortgage rates higher.
Then, on Thursday, Housing Starts is released.
Housing Starts measures the number of new homes on which the nation’s builders broke ground last month. If starts are up, it may mean that builders are optimistic for housing — a good sign for the economy. However, if starts are down, it should help reduce housing inventory over the next few months — also a good sign for the economy.
Meanwhile, 3 of the country’s biggest financial firms — Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup– are due to release first quarter earnings this week. If the filings show strength like Wells Fargo’s did, expect mortgage rates to rise like that did after the Wells Fargo report. What’s good for stocks right now may prove to be bad for mortgage rates.
Goldman Sachs reports on Tuesday, JPMorgan Chase on Thursday and Citigroup on Friday.