This week, financial leaders from around the world meet, while in the United States, a slew of housing indicators are released.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke heads to London to give a speech on lessons learned from the financial crisis. He appears with Bank of England governor Mervyn King and the International Monetary Fund’s chief economist, Olivier Blanchard.
Durable-goods orders for February come out at 8:30 a.m. Analysts expect a big swing from January, when orders declined by 5.2 percent. This time, they expect orders to increase by 3.9 percent. Durable-goods orders paint a picture of the health of the manufacturing sector.
Two pieces of housing data are up next: Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller home price index for January and new home sales for February.
The Case-Shiller index, which tracks monthly changes in home prices for 20 major cities, is projected to show that home prices went up by 0.75 percent. If the forecast is correct, this would mean home prices grew at a slightly slower pace than December’s rate of 0.88 percent.
The number of new home sales is also forecast to fall 3.9 percent to 420,000. The decline follows a gradual climb for mortgage rates as well as January’s dramatic spike, when new home sales rose 15 percent to 437,000.
Leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will gather in the South African city of Durban for a two-day summit. They are slated to discuss the establishment of a bank for emerging economies.
More housing data comes out this morning, as the National Association of Realtors releases its index of pending home sales. February was not a strong month for the housing market, and analysts expect the index to decline by 0.4 percent. The index provides an idea about national housing activity.
Weekly jobless claims are expected to rise to 340,000 from last week’s number of 336,000.
Markets will be closed on Good Friday.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis releases personal income data for February at 8:30 a.m. Analysts expect income to have risen by just under 1 percent in February. This follows January’s decline of 3.6 percent, caused by the expiration of the payroll tax cut.
— Amrita Jayakumar
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