Besides Europe, investors had to digest several economic reports. The economy grew by 2.2 percent during the first quarter, less than expected and new home sales fell by 7.1 percent in March — it’s biggest decline in over a year — and mixed news on jobless benefits, new claims dipped slightly, but the four week moving average rose to its highest level since January, signaling a weaker labor market. In the week ahead we expect earnings reports from Kraft, Visa and General Motors as well as data on jobs, manufacturing and income.
Where are the jobs? We’ll find out with the April employment report. In March the national unemployment rate dipped to 8.2 percent. With business services and manufacturing posting some of the biggest gains, African-American unemployment rose slightly to 14.1 percent. And black teen unemployment jumped to 40.5 percent, and remains by far the highest of any group.
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We’ll get a read on manufacturing with the April report from the institute for supply management. In March production rose to a 53.4 reading – which was driven by an increase in demand for autos and machinery.
We’ll check the pulse of consumer spending and finances with the March personal income report. In February consumers saw their wages tick up slightly, but spending was up sharply — by nearly one percent – the largest gain in seven months boosted by auto sales.