Mortgage bond prices finished the week near unchanged to slightly positive which kept rates in check. We started the week on a positive note Monday morning amid no data as rates improved slightly. The positive movement was short-lived as the gains were erased Tuesday morning. Q3 Productivity fell 0.2% versus the expected 0.1% decrease. Rates were flat Wednesday morning in response to tame inflation data. Consumer prices rose 0.3% and the core rate, which excludes the volatile food and energy costs, rose 0.2%. Traders expected both components of CPI to rise 0.2%. Weekly jobless claims were 252K versus the expected 212K. Producer prices were unchanged versus the expected 0.2% increase. Core PPI fell 0.2%. Analysts expected a 0.2% increase. Retail sales rose 0.2% versus the expected 0.5%. Mortgage interest rates finished the week unchanged to better by approximately 1/8 of a discount point.


Economic IndicatorRelease Date & TimeConsensus EstimateAnalysis
NAHB Housing IndexMonday, Dec. 16,
10:00 am, et
70Moderately Important.  A measure of single-family housing.  Weakness may lead to lower mortgage rates.
Housing StartsTuesday, Dec. 17,
8:30 am, et
1.34MImportant.  A measure of housing sector strength.  Weakness may lead to lower rates.
Industrial ProductionTuesday, Dec. 17,
9:15 am, et
Up 0.8%Important.  A measure of manufacturing sector strength.  A lower than expected increase may lead to lower rates.
Capacity UtilizationTuesday, Dec. 17,
9:15 am, et
77.4%Important.  A figure above 85% is viewed as inflationary.  Weaker figure may lead to lower rates.
Weekly Jobless ClaimsThursday, Dec. 19,
8:30 am, et
230KImportant.  An indication of employment.   Higher claims may result in lower rates.
Philadelphia Fed SurveyThursday, Dec. 19,
8:30 am, et
8.8Moderately important.  A survey of business conditions in the Northeast.  Weakness may lead to lower rates.
Existing Home SalesThursday, Dec. 19,
10:00 am, et
5.45MLow importance.  An indication of mortgage credit demand.  Significant weakness may lead to lower rates.
Personal Income and OutlaysFriday, Dec. 20,
8:30 am, et
Up 0.4%,
Up 1.8%
Important.  A measure of consumers’ ability to spend.  Weakness may lead to lower mortgage rates.
Third Estimate
Friday, Dec. 20,
8:30 am, et
Up 2.1%Very important.  The aggregate measure of US economic production. Weakness may lead to lower rates.
PCE Core InflationFriday, Dec. 20,
8:30 am, et
Up 0.1%Important.  A measure of price increases for all domestic personal consumption.  Weaker figure may help rates improve.

The personal income and outlays release is a monthly report issued by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The data is important because it is thought to provide a solid indication of future consumer demand. The personal income component is primarily a measure of wages and salaries. The outlays component is primarily a measure of spending on goods and services. Together the figures provide analysts valuable insight into consumer economic standing and consumption.