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Economic calendar, week of April 5-9

By Holden Lewis ·
Monday, April 5, 2010
Posted: 10 am ET

Today, we get the report on pending home sales from the National Association of Realtors. This report has no effect on mortgage rates, but it does give a hint of the direction of home sales. It probably will say sales are down, but that the speed of the downward trajectory is slowing.

Tuesday afternoon, the Federal Reserve releases the minutes from the latest meeting of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee. This report has potential to cause some turmoil in mortgage markets, because we might discover that the argument over the future of prices is more heated than we had believed. If the Fed's minutes imply that the FOMC comprises two rival camps, mortgage bankers might begin to feel even less certain about the future direction of rate policy. And this uncertainty would cause mortgage rates to move up and down in bigger-than-usual swings. When you read the word "volatility" in connection with mortgage rates, that's what it means -- rapid up-and-down movements.

For most of the week, the Treasury will auction off government debt securities. That's how the federal government borrows. In all, the government plans to borrow $82 billion this week in Treasury notes of various terms.

The yields on government debt have been rising in the last couple of weeks; that's another way of saying that the government is paying higher interest on newly borrowed money. This "should help attract buyers to the U.S. government's sale of $82 billion in notes this week," The Wall Street Journal says. An influx of buyers would mean that Treasury yields won't rise as rapidly as they've been going up recently. But the long-term outlook is clear: Treasury yields, and therefore interest rates of all kinds, are on the way up.

Other than that, the economic calendar is relatively clear until April 14, when reports on consumer prices and retail sales are released in the morning, and the Fed's Beige Book is released in the afternoon.

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