Investors had a quite a bit of economic news to sift through last week. Small business optimism fell in April, the second month of decline as their outlook dampened. Retail sales grew at a slower pace in April, as rising food and gas prices put a dent in consumer spending and new claims for jobless benefits declined by 44,000 – biggest weekly decline since February 2010.
In the week, ahead investors expect earnings reports from Home Depot, Wal-mart and J.C. Penney as well as housing and production data.
We’ll get two reads on the housing market. First up is the April housing starts report. In March, housing starts rebounded by 7.2 percent after a sharp decline the previous month. Building permits, a future gauge of building activity also rose 11.2 percent.
We also expect the existing home sales report for April. In March, sales of previously owned homes rose 3.7 percent, but were still 6.3 percent from year ago levels when sales were elevated due to the homebuyer tax credit.
We’ll gain insight on the economy with the April industrial production report. In March, industrial production – which tracks activity in manufacturing, mining and utilities rose point 8 percent due to a strong gain in manufacturing, especially auto production.