theGrio and CNBC Market Update 8/20/12

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Besides Facebook shares closing below 20 dollars a share, economic data was the focus for investors last week. Small business optimism dipped slightly in July to a 91.2 reading as businesses expect fewer sales. Consumer prices were flat overall in July despite an uptick in gas and food prices and there was mixed news on housing.

New home construction fell 1.1 percent in July led by a decline in single family homes, but building permits – a gauge of future building activity – rose 6.8 percent. In the week ahead investors expect earnings reports from Dell, Best Buy and Hewlett Packard as well as fed and housing data.

We’ll gain insight on the economy from the Federal Reserve meeting in August.¬†During their meeting the fed left its key interest rate — which affects mortgage, credit card and student loan rates — unchanged and said the economy has decelerated somewhat during the first half of the year.

We’ll get two reads on housing, starting with the July existing home sales report — which looks at previously owned homes. In June re-sales declined 5. 4 percent — to its slowest pace in eight months.

We’ll also get the July new home sales report. In June sales plunged 8. 4 percent — its biggest decline since February 2011. Driven by a record 60 percent drop in sales in the northeast. The median price of a new home dipped by 1.9 percent to $232,600.

That’s your CNBC market look ahead for the grio.com.