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Market-moving data this week

By Sheyna Steiner · Bankrate.com
Monday, March 19, 2012
Posted: 4 pm ET

The economic calendar for investors is relatively light this week. Highlights include housing starts for February, existing home sales, weekly jobless claims, the leading indicators index and new home sales.

Housing starts

On Tuesday, the new residential construction report, also known as housing starts, will be released by the U.S. Census Bureau. The report tracks the number of building permits issued for the month, housing starts and housing completions.

According to the weekly U.S. Notes from High Frequency Economics, the consensus view is that total starts will come in around 700,000, very little change from last month's 699,000.

New residential construction

New residential construction

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Existing home sales

On Wednesday at 10 a.m., we'll get the figures for existing home sales in February.  According to the National Association of Realtors, the report has shown three gains in the past four months.

According to Marketwatch.com, this month is expected to bring another increase, with the consensus showing an annualized rate of 4.6 million units.

Jobless claims

Thursday brings the weekly initial unemployment claims. Jobless claims have been trending down for the past few months.

Economists predict this week's report to show a slight increase from last week or to be unchanged around 350,000.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance
Initial claims for unemployment insurance

Source: Ycharts.com; Department of Labor

New home sales

At the week's end on Friday, the new residential sales figures are released from the U.S. Census Bureau. The report tracks sales of new single-family homes as well as the prices for which the homes were sold.

Economists expect a slightly better report this month with a consensus of 330,000, according to Marketwatch.com. That would be a 2.8 percent increase from last month.

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