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Market-movers: Apple and the Fed

By Sheyna Steiner · Bankrate.com
Monday, April 23, 2012
Posted: 10 am ET

The last full week of April brings a big week in economic news. Monday is a snooze, but Tuesday through Friday will be packed.

Case-Shiller home price index

Tuesday brings the Standard and Poor’s 500/Case-Shiller price index. The index tracks changes in residential real estate prices across 20 major metropolitan markets.

The most recent data, through January, showed the ten-city and twenty-city indexes down 3.9 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.

Consumer Confidence Index

Also on Tuesday, the Consumer Confidence Index from The Conference Board will be released for the month of April. Last month’s numbers showed a slight decline in confidence, but consumer confidence was up sharply in February.

New home sales

Tuesday will also see the release of new home sales by the Census Bureau. Experts expect that last month’s new home sales will reflect the fifth increase in six months, the Associated Press reported on Friday in the story, “Ahead of the bell: U.S. new home sales.”

Apple

Apple shares fell for three straight days last week, bringing down the Nasdaq with it. Apple will be announcing second-quarter earnings on Tuesday.

The stock price is down from an all-time high hit April 9.

Durable goods

Kicking Wednesday off bright and early, the durable goods orders report will be released by the Census Bureau. This week’s report will show the economic conditions in the manufacturing sector for the month of March.

Durable goods are products with a usable lifespan of at least 3 years.

FOMC

The central bank’s rate-setting brigade, the Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC, wraps up a two-day meeting on Wednesday, capping the festivities with a press conference by Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke.

No change to the status quo is expected, but Fed watchers will carefully parse the statement and press conference remarks for hints at further quantitative easing.

The rate announcement will come at 12:30 p.m. Charts from the Summary of Economic Projections and a statement on long-term goals and policies will be released at 2 p.m., and the press conference will begin at 2:15 p.m.

Weekly jobless claims

Initial claims for unemployment benefits are tracked on a weekly basis by the Department of Labor. Thursday will reveal which way they went last week. The previous two reports were disappointingly high after a four-year low at the end of March.

Gross domestic product

On Friday, we’ll find out how quickly the economy grew in the first quarter of 2012 with a first look at that quarter’s gross domestic product.

The economy grew at a rate of 3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011. According to Marketwatch.com, the first quarter's growth is estimated to have been 2.7 percent.

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