A large amount of housing data is scheduled for release this week especially on Monday and Tuesday.
The slew of data starts Monday with the National Association of Realtors' pending home sales index. The index rose 2% in January, a strong gain with the largest growth centered in the South, which showed a 10.5% year-over-year gain.
Also on Monday, the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Report comes out. Consumer confidence as been increasing modestly since the 2008 recession, and despite a January decline to 61.5, the index rose from 55.2 in November to 64.5 in December and to 70.8 in February. The Collingsworth Group said that if the trend continues for March, it could spell good things for the housing recovery — though it may need more support in the form of a concerted effort by the government to make people feel better about owning a home.
On Tuesday, the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index will be released for the month of January. In December the index fell 0.5%, following a 0.7% decrease the month before. Analysts at Econoday expect it to continue to decrease, because while sales are improving the improvement is coming from price discounting and foreclosures adding to the supply.
Tuesday also marks homebuilder Lennar’s quarterly earnings report, which will be broadcast live over the Internet. According to Forbes, analysts are expecting profit of 5 cents a share, an improvement from the 6 cents a share loss a year ago.
Two banks failed over the weekend, bringing the 2012 total to 15. Premier Bank in Wilmette, Ill., closed, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver. International Bank of Chicago will assume all of the deposits. As of Dec. 31, Premier Bank had about $268.7 million in assets and $199 million in deposits. The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund will be $64.1 million.
Covenant Bank & Trust, Rock Spring, Ga., was also closed, with the FDIC appointed receiver. Stearns Bank, in St. Cloud, Minn., will assume all of the deposits of Covenant. Covenant had $95.7 million in assets and $90.6 million in deposits as of Dec. 31.The FDIC and Stearns Bank entered into a loss-share transaction on $71.6 million of Covenant Bank & Trust's assets.The FDIC estimates that the cost to the DIF will be $31.5 million.
On Saturday, GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum won the Louisiana primary by a significant margin, beating Mitt Romney — the closest opponent — by more than 22 points. Despite the big win, Romney still holds a decisive lead in delegate counts.
— Jessica Huseman