TheGrio and CNBC team up to deliver a weekly report of money matters and market updates for our community.
CNBC’s Shartia Brantley reports:
Last week, President Obama signed the $18 billion jobs bill, which will provide tax breaks to companies hiring previously unemployed workers, although some sectors question the bill’s effectiveness. The Federal Reserve key interest rate remained unchanged in the zero to 0.4 percent range, affecting mortage, student loan and auto loan rates. In housing, new home construction fell nearly 6 percent in February with severe weather nationwide partly to blame. New building permits – a gauge of future building activity – also dropped 1.6 percent.
This week, investors await earnings reports, and data on housing and consumer sentiment.
Is the housing market improving? We’ll gain insight with the February 2010 New Home Sales and Existing Home Sales reports from the National Association of Realtors and the Census Bureau, due on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. The January 2010 reports showed a 7.2 percent month-to-month drop in sales of existing homes, including previously owned homes and condos, while new home sales declined 11.2 percent over the same period.
We’ll get a broad view on consumer spending trends with fourth quarter earnings reports from Tiffany & Company, Best Buy, General Mills, and Darden Restaurants, whose brands include Red Lobster and The Olive Garden.
Also due this week, the revised March 2010 Index of Consumer Sentiment from Thompson Reuters and the University of Michigan will inform investors on consumers’ perceptions of the economy, household spending, and saving trends. Worry about the labor market seems to balance cautious optimism on economic recovery to keep the index mostly level over the past several months.
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