theGrio and CNBC Market Update: 02/17/14

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Investors analyzed economic data last week and the data was mixed.

Economists trimmed their first quarter GDP forecast to 2 percent as hiring slows. Small business optimism improved in January as businesses see increased demand. However, retail sales declined in January, marking two months of decline, as consumers spent less on clothing, cars and dining out. In the week ahead we expect earnings reports from Walmart, Coca-Cola and Hewlett-Packard as well as data on housing and inflation.

We’ll get two key reads on housing. Starting with the January Housing Starts Report. In December new construction fell by nearly 10%. Building permits, a gauge of future building activity, declined by 3 percent. However, 2013 was a good year overall.

We’ll also get the January existing Home Sales Report. In December Sales of previously owned homes rose slightly, up 1%, reversing three months of decline. The median sales price increased by 9 percent compared to a year ago to 198,000.

We’ll get a read on inflation with the January Consumer Price Index Report, which tracks price changes for food, clothing and energy. In December Consumer Prices rose slightly due to higher gas prices, but overall inflation remains weak.