Week Ahead: Earnings and Housing Data

The health of the U.S. banking system will get investors’ attention next week when several of the largest banks release earnings reports. A handful of other bellwether companies will also be reporting as first-quarter earnings seasons picks up steam.

Financial firms Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) are all scheduled to release their financial data for the first quarter.

Also due next week are earnings from technology bellwethers Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM), Qualcom (NASDAQ:QCOM); eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO).

In addition, reports are due from Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), Coca-Cola  (NYSE:KO) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ).

Data are also due from the long-struggling housing sector.

The National Association of Home Builder's housing index, a gauge of the industry’s confidence, will be released Monday. The number has been rising in recent months but the sector has a long way to go in its effort to recover from the worst slump since the Great Depression.

March housing starts data will be released Tuesday. New construction permits are on the rise, especially for multi-family units. Single-family homes are still deemed by many to be too big of an investment. These same people are looking to rent, driving up the need for multi-family units.

Existing-home-sales data for March are due Thursday. The numbers have shown scant improvement in recent months as home values have continued to fall in many areas of the country. Buyers have remained on the sidelines waiting for prices to reach a bottom.

The health of U.S. factories will also be on display next week.

On Monday the Empire State survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is due. The Philadelphia Fed survey is out later in the week and a reading on March industrial activity is out Tuesday. And March construction activity will also be reported Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the World Bank board is expected to name its new president on Monday. Dartmouth College President and global public-health expert Jim Yong Kim will likely get the nod despite criticism of the appointment in some circles.