This week has a number of important releases, including data on home sales and durable goods orders and a revised estimate of gross domestic product in the third quarter.

The markets, however, are likely to be paying closest attention to any hints of how Congress and the White House are dealing with the impending “fiscal cliff.” News and rumors on this front have driven wild swings in the financial markets over the past week, and that’s not likely to change any time soon.


At 8:30 a.m., the Census Bureau releases data on orders for durable goods in October. Analysts expect this number to decline slightly from the previous month, although there’s the potential for an upside surprise if aircraft orders were strong. Right now, orders are being dragged down by global economic weakness and turmoil in Europe.

At 9 a.m., the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index for September is released. The housing market has been one of the bright spots in the U.S. economy of late.

At 10 a.m., the Conference Board releases its data on consumer confidence for November. Other surveys have shown a slight damping in confidence recently as the fiscal cliff looms.


At 10 a.m., the Commerce Department releases data on new-home sales for October. These numbers jumped to a 21 / 2-year high in September, and analysts expect that another healthy increase occurred last month.

At 2 p.m., the Federal Reserve releases its “beige book” highlighting economic conditions around the country.


At 8:30 a.m., the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its weekly data on initial unemployment claims, which have been trending upward lately — possibly due to Hurricane Sandy.

Also at 8:30, the Bureau of Economic Analysis releases its first revision of third-quarter data on gross domestic product. The first estimate was 2 percent, and analysts expect that figure to get revised strongly upward to 2.8 percent, thanks to a boost in exports and inventories.


At 8:30 a.m., the Bureau of Economic Analysis releases new data on personal income, which analysts expect grew slightly in October.

Brad Plumer