Besides monitoring the markets, investors had quite a bit of data to sift through last week. Consumer credit grew by $17.5 billion in March, led by auto and student loans. The service sector, which includes retail, construction and transportation, expanded in April as demand for new orders rose, and new claims for jobless benefits fell 26,000 to 319,000 as the labor market improves.
In the week ahead, we expect earnings reports from Wal-Mart, Macy’s and J.C. Penney, as well as data on small businesses, housing and inflation.
We’ll check the pulse of small businesses with the April survey from the NFIB. In March, small business optimism rose to a 90.3.5 reading as businesses expect sales to improve.
We’ll gain insight on the housing recovery with the April housing starts report. In March, new construction rose by nearly three percent, led by single family homes. However, building permits, a gauge of future building activity, declined by 2.4 percent.
We’ll get a read on inflation with the April consumer price index report, which tracks price changes for food, clothing and energy. In March, consumer prices edged up slightly, easing concerns about inflation.
And that’s your CNBC Market Look Ahead.