The Conference Board said late this morning that their Consumer Confidence Index for August stood at 54.1. This exceeded forecasts of a 46.6 reading, meaning that consumers were more optimistic about their own financial situations than many had thought. That is considered bad news for bonds and mortgage rates because rising confidence usually means that consumers are more likely to make large purchases in the near future. Since consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy, weaker levels of spending makes bonds more attractive to investors.
The Commerce Department will post July’s Durable Goods Orders tomorrow morning, giving us an important measure of manufacturing sector strength. This data tracks orders at U.S. factories for big-ticket items, or products that are expected to last three or more years. A much weaker reading than the expected 3.2% rise that is expected would indicate that the manufacturing sector is not as strong as thought. This would be good news for bonds and should lead to lower mortgage rates.
Also scheduled for release tomorrow morning is July’s New Home Sales data. This report is the least important release of the week. It will give us an indication of housing sector strength and mortgage credit demand, but only tracks approximately 15% of all home sales. It usually doesn’t have a major impact on bond prices or mortgage rates unless it varies greatly from forecasts.
Also worth noting is tomorrow’s 5-year Treasury Note auction. Results of the sale will be posted at 1:00 PM ET tomorrow. If it was met with a good demand from investors, we could see bond prices rise and mortgage rates drop during afternoon trading. However, a lackluster interest in the sale could lead to bond selling and upward revisions to mortgage rates.