Besides bank and tech earnings, there was quite a bit of econ data for investors to digest last week. New claims for jobless benefits declined by 37,000, this was the biggest drop since February 2009.
There was mixed news on the housing front, as December housing starts fell more than 4 percent capping the second worst year for new construction on record. Meanwhile, home re-sales rose 12 percent due to stellar price-cutting. In the week ahead, investors expect earnings reports from Microsoft, Verizon, and Xerox as well as data on interest rates, GDP and Unemployment.
The Federal Reserve will meet to discuss the economy and interest rates. During their December meeting, the Fed vowed to continue its 600 billion dollar purchase of long-term treasury securities to help the economic recovery. The fed also kept its key interest rate — which affects mortgage, credit card and student loan rates – unchanged.
We’ll get a read on whether the fed’s efforts to spur the economy are working with the advanced 4th quarter GDP report — which looks at all the goods and services produced from October through December. During the 3rd quarter the economy grew 2 and a half percent.
As for whether or not the economy is growing fast enough to create jobs, we’ll get some answers with the December state-by-state unemployment report. In November, 21 states saw an increase in unemployment. California, Michigan, and Florida were among the states with double-digit unemployment.