After recording its worst week of 2013 last week on the back of less-than-expected economic growth information from China, the S&P 500 will be looking for reasons to recover this week. There will again be an influx of financial reports and earnings season is now in top gear. Additionally, data from Washington will be delivered each day this week, capped off by the heavily watched first estimate of gross domestic product statistics from the first quarter. Market moving economic data from the States this week will include:
Existing Home Sales for March – In February, the National Association of Realtors said that sales of existing homes rose 0.8 percent to a 4.98 million annual rate while upwardly revising January’s figure from a 0.4 percent increase to a 0.8 percent increase. Inventory had been a big concern in recent months, but that also perked up by 9.6 percent in February to 1.94 million units. Economists are expecting existing home sales to continue on their upward path in March, calling for the annualized rate to increase to 5.03 million units for the month.
New Home Sales for March – Last month, the Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes dipped 4.6 percent in February from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 411,000. Although down month-over-month, the rate was still 12.3 percent ahead of March 2012’s rate. The median price for a new home was $246,800. For March, economists are predicting new home sales to rise to a 420,000 annual rate.
Durable Goods Orders for March – The Commerce Department said that in February orders for durable goods, items ranging from toasters to airplanes meant to last more than three years, surged 5.7 percent after dropping by 4.9 percent in January. Leading the way was the volatile transportation segment, which jumped 21.7 percent. Orders for “core” durable goods, those that exclude transportation and defense, fell by 2.7 percent, the biggest monthly drop since last July. For March, economists are anticipating overall durable goods orders to drop by 3.0 percent.
Initial Jobless Claims for the Week Ended April 20, 2013 – Last Thursday, the Labor Department reported an increase of 4,000 first-time filings for jobless benefits to a rate of 352,000 for the week ended April 13. The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure of the labor market, increased by 2,750 to 361,250. Economists generally consider rates below 350,000 as a sign of moderate job growth in the U.S. The latest report coming this week is expected to be relatively benign with economists predicting only a tepid decline to 351,000 new filings.
Gross Domestic Product for the First Quarter of 2013 – After initially reporting that GDP contracted in the fourth quarter of 2012, a couple revisions later the Commerce Department said that the nation’s economy grew by 0.4 percent. The final reading, while improved from the first two estimates, still showed a rapid deceleration in the U.S. economy in the fourth quarter after growing by 2.2 percent for all of 2012, including 3.1 percent expansion in the third quarter. Economists are expecting the first estimate to start 2013 to substantially outpace Q4 growth, predicting a 3.1 percent expansion for the first quarter.