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This Week’s Economic Calendar Full of Land Mines

As we mentioned a week ago, home sales and home price data would kick-off last week’s trading, and round out the picture of the real estate industry that first started being patient by the prior week’s building permits and housing starts. Bluntly, things continued to look bad.

Existing home sales fell from 5.79 million to 5.66 million units, while new home sales fell from 446K to 300K (annualized). Both were below estimates, though one should note that in the aggregate, the total number of homes sold (new plus existing) didn’t plummet. It mattered little.

Homes Sales - New, Existing

Durable orders with or without transportation orders both came in under estimates; they fell 1.1% with transportation, but at least grew 0.9% when factoring transportation in. Still, it all points to a slowdown.

On the unemployment front, both new and ongoing claims were below estimates, yet both remained in line with recent readings; they were 457K and 4548L, respectively. It’s a positive that neither are trending higher again, but investors are understandably getting more and more concerned that the number is stagnant.

And finally, the University of Michigan Sentiment Index rolled in at 76.0 for June, up from last month’s 75.5, and above expectations of another 75.5 score. That said, we’ll remind you that this particular confidence measure hasn’t proven all that useful to investors; it pales in comparison t he Conference Board’s equivalence measure.

Economic Calendar

As for the coming week, we’ve got even more in store….  more than we can look at in its entirety. Here are the highlights to look for.

  • Personal income and personal spending are due on Monday morning; these may well be the ultimate measure of consumer health right now.
  • The Conference Board’s consumer confidence number is out on Tuesday,
  • Construction spending and pending home sales will be posted on Wednesday, but for May’s numbers - don’t be shocked if we see the same post-tax-credit-dip we saw with related numbers.
  • Nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate are slated for Friday, and both are expected to show an increase in lost jobs - unemployment should tick higher to 9.8%, and nonfarm payrolls are expected to show a loss of 100K jobs. Let’s hope that’s just some sand-bagging.
  • Also on Friday, factory orders, hourly earnings, and the average workweek are scheduled, though they don’t have a major impact on stocks.

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James Brumley is a freelance writer and registered investment advisor. He began his career as a broker with a major Wall Street firm, where fundamentals and long-term holding periods were core strategies. After that, he switched gears completely, becoming an analyst at a short-term trading newsletter that focused on technical analysis. He now manages client money using the best of both philosophies. His company, Bluegrass Portfolio Management, offers investors an opportunity to reap superior returns with minimized risk.