This week promises to be a relatively quiet one for economic information. The highlights are likely to be the president’s inaugural address and the release of key housing data.


President Obama is formally inaugurated for his second term and delivers a speech that will lay out themes and tone for the four years ahead.

Financial markets are closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.


Analysts expect the gains in housing to continue as the National Association of Realtors reports on existing-home sales for December. After a strong 5.9 percent gain in November, analysts are forecasting a 1.2 percent rise in the December figure, to a 5.1 million annual rate. That would be the highest pace of home sales since the middle of 2007.

The Richmond Fed releases its January index of manufacturing activity in the Southeast, which analysts expect to edge down from December levels.


The Federal Housing Finance Agency releases its index of home prices across the United States for November. The index is expected to show a 0.7 percent gain in housing prices, which would offer further confirmation of a housing industry experiencing a rebound.

The International Monetary Fund releases an update of its World Economic Outlook.


The latest weekly initial jobless claims are expected to edge up from an unusually low reading last week. Analysts expect that 355,000 people filed new claims for unemployment insurance benefits, which would be a tick up from the 335,000 who reported the previous week. That number was the lowest in nearly five years and may well be revised upward in the new report.

The Kansas City Fed’s index of manufacturing activity is forecast to reverse its drop in December and to signal flat manufacturing output in the Mountain West states.


The Commerce Department releases new-home sales data that are expected to show a 2.1 percent jump in the rate of new-home prices, which would be the third piece of economic information of the week to point to a housing rebound.

Neil Irwin