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Market-moving data this week

By Sheyna Steiner · Bankrate.com
Monday, March 26, 2012
Posted: 5 pm ET

Another week brings more economic indicators for investors to watch. This time around, we'll see pending home sales, consumer confidence, durable goods orders, the weekly initial jobless claims, as well as personal income and outlays.

Pending home sales

This report came out Monday morning from the National Association of Realtors. It tracks signed contracts on homes, condos and co-ops and is considered a leading indicator of housing activity.

The pending home sales index came in under expectations, falling 0.5 percent for the month of February.

Consumer confidence

On Tuesday, the Conference Board releases the Consumer Confidence Index for the month of March. Consumer confidence skyrocketed in February, up to 70.8 from 61.5, the revised reading for January.

After last month's increase, economists expect a slight dip for March. Earlier this month, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Index showed consumers fretting over rising gas prices, which mitigated some consumer optimism.

Durable goods

Arguably, the most watched report of the week will be durable goods orders on Wednesday. Last month's report, for the month of January, was widely disappointing.

For the survey, a manufactured product must have a lifespan of three years or more to be considered durable. When business is booming, orders for manufactured durable goods boom right along; if businesses are feeling skittish about the economy, orders go down.

Durable goods are typically reported in total numbers and the total with transportation orders stripped out. Large transportation purchases can be more volatile than other components.

Economists expect an increase in durable goods orders of 3 percent for February, Bloomberg.com reported on Sunday in the story, "Order probably picked up with spending: U.S. economy preview."

Personal income and outlays

Consumer incomes and spending are tracked in one report, Personal Income and Outlays, from the Bureau of Economic Analysis in the Commerce Department. The numbers for February will be released on Friday.

According to High Frequency Economic's weekly Notes on the United States, the consensus is that incomes rose 0.4 percent, and nominal spending increased by 0.6 percent.

How is your confidence this week?

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