- Market participants continued to keep a close eye on the coronavirus epidemic and the presidential election campaign.
- In addition, there are five key economic indicators that can determine the fate of the stock market this week.
- Except for durable goods orders, the other four indicators are likely to push the stock markets higher this week.
The stock market continues to respond to the latest developments on the COVID-19 (coronavirus) epidemic. While the virus is largely contained in the United States with only 34 cases, new cases have skyrocketed in other countries such as South Korea, Italy and Iran.
On top of the COVID-19 outbreak, investors will likely keep an eye on the Democratic presidential primaries. With the win in Nevada, Bernie Sanders is now in the lead to become the Democratic nominee. Analysts believe that a Sanders presidency will ignite an economic recession.
While investors keep a close watch on news regarding the COVID-19 and the Democratic presidential primaries, there are five other economic indicators that could impact the U.S. stock market this week. We’ll look into consumer confidence, personal income and spending, new home sales, real GDP, and durable goods orders.
Consumer Confidence Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
On Tuesday, the Conference Board will release its findings on U.S. consumer confidence for the month of February. Market participants are likely keen to know whether coronavirus and Democratic primaries are influencing the sentiments of Americans about the economy.
Sam Bullard, managing director and senior economist at Wells Fargo, is expecting coronavirus to have little to no effect on consumer confidence. More importantly, the economist believes that consumer confidence will continue to grow. In a weekly newsletter, he wrote:
We look for consumer confidence to improve for the fifth consecutive month in February, supported by a healthy labor market, low inflation/gasoline prices, and an elevated stock market.
New Home Sales to End Three-Month Slump
On Wednesday, the housing sector will garner attention as new home sales are due for release. According to consensus estimates, 715,000 new houses were sold in January. However, Wells Fargo believes that number will be significantly higher at 722,000 new homes. Bullard believes that lower mortgage rates, higher mortgage applications and a strong labor market are key factors that drove a 4% increase in new homes sales in January.
Durable Goods Orders May Drag Down the Stock Market
On Thursday, reports on durable goods orders may dampen investors’ moods. After a 2.4% increase in December, analysts are expecting a 1.5% drop due to plunging defense orders and scarce Boeing orders. Bullard noted,
Boeing announced it had no new orders in January after just three new orders in December, when nondefense aircraft orders fell 75%.
Should durable goods orders plunge by more than 1.5%, it might trigger a selloff in stocks.
Real GDP Figures May Taper the Stock Market Selloff
Also on Thursday, the U.S. Commerce Department will release revised projections of Q4 gross domestic product. Both consensus estimates and Wells Fargo agree that GDP will grow 2.1% for the quarter ending December. Estimates could be a little better considering that the U.S. and China agreed to a trade truce and Congress enacted a government spending measure.
Analysts Expecting Moderate Gains on Personal Income and Spending
On Friday, data on January’s personal income and spending will be released. Analysts predict a 0.3% increase on both personal income and spending. Bullard points to the healthy labor market as the catalyst for the gains in personal income. He noted,
The healthy labor market should lead to a 0.3% m/m gain in personal income, while personal spending should also rise 0.3% on the month. The gain in spending could have been bigger, though warmer-than-usual temperatures should weigh on utility spending, and in turn, services spending.
Overall, it appears that market participants should expect a good week. However, significant deviations could rock the stock market.
The above should not be considered trading advice from CCN.com.
This article was edited by Sam Bourgi.