Housing will dominate the sparse calendar this week.

By Kathleen Madigan

Housing will dominate the sparse calendar this week. The meager offering of data will allow investors to focus on speeches by Federal Reserve officials as well as the release of policy minutes Wednesday.

The housing recovery remains a bright spot in the economic outlook and next week’s numbers on demand should confirm momentum building into the spring thanks to low mortgage rates, brighter consumer sentiment and recovering job markets.

The National Association of Realtors is slated to report existing home sales Wednesday. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires is that resales rose 1% in April, to an annual rate of 4.97 million.

New home sales, scheduled for Thursday, are also expected to rise. Forecasters think new homes sold at an annual rate of 425,000 in April, up 1.9% from March.

A recovering housing market is supporting home prices. The Federal Housing Finance Agency is expected to report its measure of home vales Thursday. The median forecast expects home prices increased 1.2% in March from February.

On Friday, an important non-housing bit of data will be orders for durable goods. Economists expect new bookings bounced back 1% in April, after a plunge in aircraft demand caused a 5.8% fall in March.

Wednesday 1000  Existing Home Sales     Apr    4.97mln (9)  4.92mln 
                  --percent change             +1.0%        -0.6% 
Thursday  0830  Jobless Claims         May 18  348K (6)     360K 
          0900  Markit Flash PMI        May    N/A          52.1* 
          0900  FHFA Home Prices        Mar    +1.2% (3)    +0.7% 
          1000  New Home Sales          Apr    425K (9)     417K 
                  --percent change             +1.9%        +1.5% 
          1100  Kansas City Fed Mfg Svy May     N/A         -5 
Friday    0830  Durable Goods Orders    Apr    +1.0% (9)    -5.8% 

    *Final April reading 

  (Figures in parentheses refer to number of economists surveyed.)
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