Mortgage rates lost some ground early last week as inflation fears sparked a mild selloff in Mortgage Bonds. Mid week saw mortgage bonds claw back some lost ground on the heels of weak earnings reports (which hurt stocks,) and the Consumer Price Index, which posted the highest increase since the early 1990′s. A consumer price index this "hot" would normally send mortgage bonds tumbling, and rates higher. In this case, it was mostly ignored by market participants taking comfort that the slide in oil prices will right the ship and inflation will moderate.
By the end of the week, mortgage rates were essentially unchanged.
A number of high profile economic reports to watch this week, along with a passel of consumer focused companies’ earnings (Lowe’s, Gap, Barnes & Noble) could make for a volatile mix as we watch both the stock and bond markets (remember, when stocks do well, it is often at the expense of bonds, which can cause mortgage rates to rise) impact on mortgage rates.
On Tuesday, we have the Producer Price Index for July. A hot reading here could negatively impact mortgage rates, though given the markets non-reaction to last week’s read on consumer prices, this data might also be ignored by the market even if it shows inflation. Housing starts and building permits also report tuesday, and while these figures are widely expected to be negative, any surprises of the "not as bad as expected" variety may help stocks and hurt mortgage rates.
Later in the week, we have the Philly Fed Index, which measures manufacturing activity and is often looked at as a proxy for the national manufacturing picture. A strong number here could spark a rally in stocks and hurt mortgage rates.