After Early Focus On Trade And Brexit, Week Ahead Brings Housing Data, Fed Speakers
March 20, 2017 - 10:39am
Housing data, a slew of Fed speakers, and even some important earnings reports highlight the week ahead as investors digest last week’s interest rate hike.
Stock futures pointed to a lower open amid pressure from the weekend’s G20 meeting of world financial officials. The meeting appeared to raise concerns about possible trade wars as the U.S. convinced the group to drop a policy pledge against protectionism, media reports said. In other news from overseas, Reuters reported that Britain would begin the formal Brexit process March 29.
On the home front, most economic growth indicators have been positive of late, setting the stage for some key housing numbers in the coming days. February existing home sales are due Wednesday morning, followed by new home sales on Thursday morning.
Existing home sales and prices have been on the rise over the last few months, but limited inventory seems to be making homes less affordable for some buyers. Existing home inventories fell in January for the 20th straight month. Unsold inventory fell to the lowest level in 12 years.
Housing starts seem to be reacting, jumping 3\% in February to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 1.288 million, the highest since last October. New home sales rose 5.5\% year over year in January to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 555,000, so we’ll find out Thursday if February sales kept up the momentum.
Another closely watched indicator—industrial output—was flat in February, the government reported Friday. But that reflected a nearly 6\% drop in the utilities reading, a sign that unusual February warm weather probably affected heating demand during the month. Other parts of the report somewhat offset the utilities dive, including a 0.5\% rise in manufacturing and a 2.7\% rise in mining. As we noted before the report came out, it’s important to ...Full story available on Benzinga.com
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