Economic Reports to Watch For This Week

With a fresh week just around the corner, a new set of economic data reports are on their way. Since these reports have a large effect on Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) and the other major indexes, it can be helpful for investors to know what's coming up. Let's take a look.

Economic reports
The big economic report coming out on Monday is the PMI manufacturing index, which rose from 53.7 in January to 57.1 in February. Economists expect a reading of 56.9 for March. The reading is based on survey answers from private-sector companies on output, new orders, stock levels, employment, and prices across the manufacturing industry.  

Tuesday will bring the Consumer Confidence Board's consumer confidence index. In February, the index's reading fell a surprising 1.3 points to 78.1, and economists are expecting a reading of 78.4 for March. We'll also see two important housing-related reports on Tuesday -- the Case-Shiller Home Price Index and new homes sales figures. Economists expect the seasonally adjusted 20-city index to rise 0.7% for January, after climbing 0.8% in December. As for new home sales, economists expect the seasonally adjusted figure to fall from 468,000 in January to just 440,000 in February. A lack of available homes for sale may be causing the slowdown.  

On Wednesday, we'll get the latest report on durable-goods orders. In January, amidst the poor weather in much of the country, the reading indicated that manufacturing would grow in the future. While the figures in January still indicated that orders were falling, they dropped much less than they had in December. As for February, new orders are expected to rise 1%. 

Another housing-related report comes out on Thursday -- the pending home sales index from the National Association of Realtors. In January the report indicated that pending home sales rose 0.1% to 95.0, but economists expect a February drop of 0.8%. Jobless claims for the previous week are also on tap for Thursday, and Wall Street expects 323,000 claims, up from 320,000 two weeks ago. And the most important figure of the day is gross domestic product growth rates, which will represent the final revision of the fourth-quarter GDP number. That figure initially came in at 3.2% and then was lowered to 2.4%. Economists think the final reading will indicate that the economy grew by 2.7% during the fourth quarter of 2013.  

Wrapping up the week on Friday will be the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey. After a reading of 79.9 for the mid-month report, economists are looking for a reading of 80.5 for the full month. That's a lower figure than what we saw in February, but it's still strong.  

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