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Investors look for good news

By Sheyna Steiner · Bankrate.com
Monday, May 21, 2012
Posted: 1 pm ET

Last week, news of one social media website dominated much of the news. The rest of the news time may have been devoted to what a bad week it was for U.S. stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 3 percent from an intraday high on Wednesday to the close on Friday. Similarly, the Standard and Poor's 500 index began a slide from its high on Wednesday, ultimately closing Friday down 3.45 percent.

There's not a lot of upcoming news this week on which to hang any hats. After last week, investors may be looking for reassurance that the economy is still alive and kicking.

Tuesday: Existing home sales

The first potentially market-moving news comes on Tuesday with the report on existing home sales from the National Association of Realtors.

According to the NAR, the report covers actual closings of existing homes. Existing home sales clocked in at 4.48 million in March, and the consensus for April is that sales will be up to 4.62 million, according to High Frequency Economics' weekly notes on the United States.

Wednesday: New home sales

On Wednesday, the National Association of Home Builders will release new home sales figures for the month of April.

Sales of brand-new homes in March were down 7.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 328,000. According to MarketWatch's economic calendar, economists expect a bit of a boost this month to 335,000.

Thursday: Durable goods orders

Thursday brings the report on durable goods from the Census Bureau. Durable goods are products built to last more than three years. The report covers new orders for manufactured products, shipments, inventories and capital goods.

The report is often inflated or deflated by orders for big transportation products such as airlines. Decreases in the number of planes ordered in recent months have kept the headline number depressed, and that may be the case in April as well.

The weekly initial claims for unemployment will also be out on Thursday.

Friday: Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index

Heading into the holiday weekend, we'll get a glimpse of how willing consumers are to spend money in the consumer sentiment index. Confidence increased marginally from March to April, but recent decreases in gasoline prices could reinvigorate consumer confidence.

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