Investors had quite a bit of data to sift through last week. Search giant, Google, saw its stock hit an all-time high surpassing $800 a share. Housing starts plummeted 8.5 percent in January. However, building permits, rose by 1.8 percent. New claims for jobless benefits rose by 20,000, to 362,000 highlighting the slow labor market recovery. In the week ahead investors expect data on GDP, home prices and personal income.
We will gain insight on the economy with the second estimate of fourth quarter GDP, which looks at all the good and services produced from October-December. The first estimate showed the economy contracted by .1 of 1 percent. The first time the economy has shrank in three and a half years, as the gridlock over the fiscal cliff weighed on businesses.
We’ll get a read on housing with the December Case-Shriller home price index report, which tracks price changes in twenty metro areas. In November home prices rose 5.5 percent compared to a year ago, marking ten straight months of gains. For example, home prices in Phoenix are up a whopping 23 percent.
We’ll check on consumer finances with the January personal income report. In December wages rose by 2.6 percent, this was the biggest increase in eight years, boosted by special dividends while spending increased slightly.