Monday’s bond market has opened in positive territory with the stocks mixed. The Dow is currently down 24 points while the Nasdaq has gained 5 points. The bond market is currently up 6/32, which should improve this morning’s mortgage rates by approximately .250 of a discount point from Friday’s morning pricing. There is no relevant economic data scheduled for release today, so look for the stock markets to be the biggest influence on bond trading and mortgage rates. The rest of the week brings us the release of six economic reports worth watching in addition to the minutes from the last FOMC meeting and two speaking appearances from Fed Chairman Bernanke.
The week’s first release is one of the highly important ones when the Commerce Department posts January’s Retail Sales data early tomorrow morning. This report is very important to the financial markets because it measures consumer spending. Since consumer spendi ng makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy, any related data is watched quite closely. If tomorrow's report reveals weaker than expected sales, the bond market should thrive and mortgage rates will fall since it would be a sign that the economy is not as strong as many had thought. However, a stronger reading than the 0.5% increase that is expected could lead to higher mortgage rates.