Investors continued to monitor the Greek debt talks last week as well as analyze economic data. The FED announced it will keep interests rates, which affects mortgage and credit card rates, low until 20-14…New home sales fell 2.2 percent in December, making 2011 the worst year for new home sales on record. New claims for unemployment benefits rose by 21-thousand, but still below the key 400-thousand level, signaling a recovery. In the week ahead we expect earnings reports from Exxon Mobil, Honda and UPS as well as data on jobs, home prices and manufacturing.
All eyes will be on the January employment report. In December the unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent as 200-thousand jobs were created. Transportation and retail saw the biggest gains… But African American unemployment rose to 15.8 percent. Black teen unemployment jumped to 42.1 percent, remaining the highest of any group.
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Speaking of jobs, we will get a read on manufacturing with the January report from the Institute for Supply Management. In December, production rose to a 53.9 reading — it’s fastest pace since June — due to an increase in new orders with a reading above 50 signals expansion
We’ll get a read on housing with the November Case-Shiller home price index report. In October home prices fell 6 tenths of 1 percent, signaling home prices have not bottomed yet. Atlanta, Chicago and Las Vegas posted some of the biggest losses.