GDP on Wednesday Highlights Week in Economic Data

Andrew Klips  |

After a volatile five days of trading last week, spurred by commentary from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke regarding potentially tapering and eventually ending QE3 based upon the health of the U.S. economy in coming months, traders will again be hawking key economic data this week. While Bernanke spoke of possible timeframes for slowing or stopping its stimulus efforts, he also made it clear that if the economy wasn't stable and improving, adjustments to policy would be made. To that end, investors will certainly be analyzing data as it streams in to glean any information about how it may affect the Fed's future decisions.

Some "market moving" reports coming this week include:


Durable Goods Orders for May – Last month, the U.S. Census Bureau said that new orders for durable goods, products from airplanes to household appliances that are designed to last more than three years, rose by 3.3 percent to $222.6 billion during April, outpacing expectations of only a 1.5 percent increase and reversing course from a 5.9 percent contraction in March. The volatile transportation component has been primarily responsible for large monthly swings in durable goods orders. Excluding transportation, new orders rose 1.3 percent in April. For May, economists are casting a wide range of predictions for new orders, with the consensus being about a 3.7 percent gain in total new orders and a contraction of 0.1 percent for orders, less transportation.

New Home Sales for May – The housing market has been a bright spot in the U.S. economy for the past year. Last month the Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes rose 2.3 percent in April compared to March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 454,000. Year-over-year, sales were up 29 percent in April and at their highest post-recession level. Median prices were up 15 percent compared to April 2012 at $271,600. For May, economists are expecting the annualized rate inched up to 462,000.

Also coming Tuesday is the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index and the Conference Board's report on Consumer Confidence for June.

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Gross Domestic Product for Q1 – Last month, the Commerce Department lowered its GDP figure for the first quarter from growth of 2.5 percent down to 2.4 percent as more thorough data showed less government spending and lower inventory levels than first estimated. Government spending was revised to -4.9 percent from the original -4.1 percent. Consumer spending, however, was revised upward by 0.2 percent to growth of 3.4 percent in the first quarter. Headline inflation was changed from a 1.2 percent annualized rate to 1.1 percent. Economists aren't expecting any changes in the overall growth of 2.4 percent in this month's revision.


Initial Jobless Claims for the Week Ended June 15 – According to the Labor Department, in the week ended June 8, first-time filings for jobless benefits jumped to 354,000 from an upwardly revised 336,000 claims the week prior, exceeding expectations. The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure of labor trends, rose by 2,500 to 348,250, holding just under the 350,000 pace that economists regard as representing moderate growth in the jobs' market. For the recent week, economists are calling for claims to edge lower, with expectations of 348,000 claims.

Personal Income and Outlays for May – For April, the Commerce Department reported that personal income was basically flat with only a decline of $5.6 billion, while disposable personal income dropped $16.1 billion, or 0.1 percent. Personal consumption expenditures were down $20.5 billion, or 0.2 percent, exceeding expectations. Consumer spending makes up about 70 percent of all economic activity and had risen each month in 2013 until April. For May, economists are expecting a 0.2 percent rise in personal income, a 0.4 percent increase in consumer spending, the PCE index to rise 0.1 percent and the "core" PCE price index to rise 0.1 percent.

Pending Home Sales for May are also on tap from Thursday.

Also notable this week is the Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey on Monday; and Chicago PMI and the University of Michigan/Thomson Reuter's Consumer Sentiment Index on Friday.

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