Five Stock Market Changers This Week – March 20 – 2011

  • Existing Home Sales: Demand for existing homes has increased for five out of the last six months — sales rose 2.7 percent in January from December and 5.3 percent from a year ago — but the market sector is still struggling to get its footing especially since the expiration of the first-time buyer tax credit. Data for February come out Monday at 10 a.m.
  • FHFA Housing Price Index: Rising foreclosures continue to weigh on home prices and push the median price for an existing home to its lowest level since 2002. In fact, prices have fallen for seven straight months. Zillow Inc., a real estate data company, reported the decline has exceeded the 27 percent drop from 1928 to 1933, the worst years of the Great Depression. January data come out Tuesday at 10 a.m.
  • New Home Sales: Sales of new homes and home builders are still competing with the glut of existing properties including foreclosed homes. Last week the Commerce Department reported that housing starts posted their biggest decline in nearly two years in February, while building permits dropped to their lowest level on record, underscoring the fact that the housing sector is failing to recover despite near-record low interest rates. February new home sales numbers are due out Wednesday at 2:15 p.m.
  • Durable orders: Durable orders rose 2.7 percent in January — the biggest increase since September — as aircraft orders rebounded. But excluding transportation, they recorded their largest decline in two years, hinting at a slowdown in U.S. manufacturing. February data come out Thursday at 8:30 a.m.
  • Michigan Consumer Sentiment (Final): Confidence among U.S. consumers fell to a five-month low earlier in March on a surge in fuel prices. With wholesale prices rising in February by the most in nearly two years due to higher energy costs and the steepest rise in food prices in 36 years, the latest Michigan Sentiment will be hard pressed. Watch for March data on Thursday at 9:55 a.m.


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