Housing Takes the Spotlight in Coming Week
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The theme for economic reports next week will be U.S. housing market conditions.
On Monday, the National Association of Home Builders' housing market index for March is expected to come in at a reading of 30, up from the prior month's 29, according to a survey of economists by Thomson Reuters.
On Tuesday, the Commerce Department is expected to report that February housing starts fell to a 697,000 annual pace from a 699,000 clip in the previous month. The Bureau is also expected to report that building permits for February came in at a 680,000 rate, rising from the 676,000 pace in January.
On Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors is expected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters to say that existing-home sales rose to an annual rate of 4.61 million in February, from 4.57 million the preceding month. Also, coming out that day is the reading for the Mortgage Bankers Association's mortgage index for the week ended March 17. Estimates were not yet out at the time of this writing. The previous week showed a decline of 2.4%.
On Thursday, the print for the Federal Housing Finance Agency housing price index for January will be released, though estimates were not yet out at the time of this writing. December registered a jump of 0.7%.
The week's housing data dump will finish up on Friday. The Census Bureau is expected to say that new single-family homes in the U.S. sold at a 325,000 annual rate in February, up from a 321,000 rate previously.
"Basically, the market will want to see affirmation that the U.S. continues to slowly grow its way out of the Great Recession," says Luminous Capital partner Alan Zafran.
"Given the move in the housing market stocks and the generally improving sentiment overtaking the sector, the broad data points will be watched closely for signs the improvement is continuing," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG.
Next week, says Michael Gayed, chief investment strategist at Pension Partners, will be an important one given the substantial move higher in Treasury bond yields this week.
The move in bonds, Gayed points out, coincides with the bank stress test results of Tuesday and dividend increases by major banks. "If bonds do not recover after the big drop in price and spike in yields shortly, it would suggest that the fever has broken in bonds," he said.
"Any kind of economic data which reinforces inflation expectations will only further the case for stocks in the near-term as reflation continues to be believed by investors," he added.
All that said, the market's tail end chasing of late and continued short-term vision should allow equities to continue spinning in a positive direction in the coming week.