This week has already seen plenty of important economic data releases that investors should pay close attention to as most of the data was not being overly positive. Here is a quick recap of the economic data releases so far:
- Home Prices Keep Falling and Consumer Confidence Plunges. As we mentioned earlier in the week, the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index of 20 major markets released earlier in the week showed that average home prices fell another 2.6% from a year earlier while the Conference Board announced that its Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 64.9 - down from a revised 68.7 in April and the biggest drop since October 2011. In fact, home prices have not been this low since mid-2002 while a consumer confidence reading of 64.9 is significantly below the 90 reading that would indicate a healthy economy.
- Sales of Foreclosed Homes Rise. A spike in short sales caused homes in some stage of the foreclosure process to have their share of overall US home sales rise in the first quarter while sales of bank-owned homes fell according to foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. Specifically, short sales rose 25% from a year earlier to hit a three-year high while sales of bank-owned properties fell 15% versus the first quarter of last year - meaning there is a good chance that home prices will continue to soften as short sales usually sell at steep discounts.
- Fewer Jobs Added in May. According this morning's release from ADP Employer Services, US companies added 133,000 jobs last month, smaller than a consensus estimate of 150,000 while the Labor Department announced that weekly applications for unemployment rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 383,000 while the four-week average increased for the first time in a month to 374,500. Another Labor Department report is due out Friday morning and it's projected to show that private sector payrolls rose by 160,000 while unemployment held steady at 8.1% as hiring will likely remain sluggish until there is a clear sign of a pickup in consumer spending.
- First GDP Growth Revised Down. The Commerce Department issued its second estimate for first quarter GDP growth and revised it down from the previous 2.2% estimate to 1.9%. After-tax corporate profits also dropped for the first time in three years while growth in the second quarter is currently estimated to be about 2.5% but there are already signs that business spending has slowed.
- Better Eurozone Data. On a brighter note, Germany's jobless rate fell to 6.7% in May, the lowest level since comparable records began in 1998 while German retail sales rose 0.6% in April - beating expectations of only a 0.1% gain. Inflation for the euro zone also slowed to 2.4% in May from 2.6% in April - giving hope that the European Central Bank will be more willing to provide additional stimulus measures.
The economic data releases that are left for this week includes data about the unemployment rate, auto and truck sales for May plus personal and construction spending for April.
Nevertheless and given the economic data that been coming out for the past several weeks, its hard to be overly up optimistic about the economy as we move into summer and towards the end of the year. Hence, keep a close eye on the latest economic news along with our NextCandle.com stock forecasts for all of the stocks you own and trade.
NOTE: THIS PIECE WAS JUST POSTED ON THE NEXTCANDLE.COM BLOG.