Last week, local jobs numbers showed that the federal spending cuts known as the sequester didn’t have a significant effect on employment in the Washington area.

This week, new economic data should shed light on the state of the housing market. Also, the country’s first gross domestic product report of the year is released.


Existing home sales for March are released at 10 a.m. The number of sales is expected to increase slightly to 5 million, from 4.98 million.

Meanwhile, manufacturer Caterpillar and online streaming-company Netflix are slated to release earnings reports.


More housing data follow this morning.

Up first, the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s home price index for February, at 9 a.m. The index is expected to increase by 0.7 percent, up from 0.6 percent in January, no surprise since home prices across the country have been on the rise.

Next, new home sales for March are out at 10 a.m. Sales are forecast to rise to 416,000, an increase of 5,000 from February.


The Census Bureau releases durable goods orders for March at 8:30 a.m. The figure is expected to drop significantly due to a decrease in aircraft orders. After a rise of 5.7 percent in February, the number of orders is forecast to fall by 3 percent.


New data on weekly jobless claims are out. The total is expected to fall to 350,000 from last week’s 352,000.


At 8:30 a.m., the Commerce Department releases the nation’s first-quarter GDP report. Analysts expect that the U.S. economy expanded by more than 3 percent, driven primarily by the housing market. The economy had a lukewarm rise of 0.4 percent during the fourth quarter of 2012.

— Amrita Jayakumar