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.
DATE TIME RELEASE PERIOD CONSENSUS PREVIOUS (ET) 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.)