Week Ahead: The ECB, Housing Data and Earnings

By EuropeFOXBusiness

A slim calendar of economic data next week is highlighted by several housing releases and a handful of earnings reports from bellwether companies in sectors such as technology and financial services.

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U.S. stock and bond markets are closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Meanwhile, in Europe a decision is expected Thursday on whether the European Central Bank will begin a stimulus program similar to the quantitative easing program used by the U.S. Federal Reserve after the 2008 financial crisis.

The ECB is widely expected to initiate a bond buying program in an effort to lift the European Union out of a long period of low inflation that has threatened deflation, a hard to break cycle of low prices and low wages.

Back in the U.S. a report on December housing starts out on Wednesday is expected to show an  increase to 1.046 million in December, according to analysts at IHS Global Insight.

A report on existing home sales, due out Friday, is likely to show that the figure climbed to 5.11 million in December, partially recovering from a downturn in November. Steady price growth is encouraging owners to list their homes, the IHS analysts said.

Also out next week is the National Association of Home Builders’ housing market index which members of the NAHB are surveyed to determine the health of the important sector and demand for new homes. The index will be released on Tuesday.

On the earnings front reports are due Tuesday from Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), IBM (NYSE:IBM), and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ); Wednesday is  eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and American Express (NYSE:AXP); Thursday is Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX); and Friday is McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE:BK) and General Electric (NYSE:GE).

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