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Monday, February 25, 2013

Tuesday: New Home Sales, Case-Shiller House Prices, Bernanke

by Calculated Risk on 2/25/2013 08:57:00 PM

Tomorrow will be busy ... but first from Tim Duy: ECB Should Pledge to Not Do Anything Stupid

Market participants were rattled today by the election news out of Italy, as it looks like the economically-challenged nation is now politically adrift. ...
Why should we be concerned that Italy backslides on its commitment to austerity? After all, evidence of the economic damage wrought by such policies continues to mount. If anything, a reversal of recent austerity should be welcome.

I suspect, however, that it is not the austerity that worries market participants. It is the fear that European Central Bank head Mario Draghi will threaten to pull his pledge to do whatever is takes to save the Euro in the face of Italian intransigence. The fear that European policymakers are about to partake in another grand game of chicken that once again will bring the sustainability of the single currency back into question. In short, I think that market participants fear tight monetary policy much more than loose fiscal policy. ...
Tuesday economic releases:
• At 9:00 AM ET, S&P/Case-Shiller House Price Index for December will be released. Although this is the December report, it is really a 3 month average of October, November and December. The consensus is for a 6.8% year-over-year increase in the Composite 20 index (NSA) for December. The Zillow forecast is for the Composite 20 to increase 6.7% year-over-year, and for prices to increase 0.7% month-to-month seasonally adjusted.

• Also at 9:00 AM, FHFA House Price Index for December 2012 will be released. This was original a GSE only repeat sales, however there is also an expanded index that deserves more attention. The consensus is for a 0.7% increase in house prices.

• At 10:00 AM, New Home Sales for January will be released by the Census Bureau. The consensus is for an increase in sales to 381 thousand Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) in January from 369 thousand in December.

• Also at 10:00 AM, the Richmond Fed Survey of Manufacturing Activity for February. The consensus is for a a reading of minus 3 for this survey, up from minus 12 in January (Below zero is contraction).

• Also at 10:00 AM, the Conference Board's consumer confidence index for February. The consensus is for the index to increase to 61.0.

• Also at 10:00 AM, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will deliver the "Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress", Before the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate