In spite of a shortened week as a result of the Easter Holiday, last week was fairly busy in economic data. There were 26 releases spread throughout the week with just under half coming in better than forecasts or the prior period. Empire Manufacturing for April kicked off the week with a much stronger print of 10.1 versus 3.7 in March. More positive treasury flows were also seen in Monday’s TIC flows. Industrial Production showed weakness on Tuesday while homebuilder sentiment came in line with forecasts of 63. Thursday was filled to the brim with data. March retail sales came in much stronger than the February print and handily above forecasts. The Philly Fed’s Business Outlook Index echoed the weaker manufacturing data from earlier in the week and a weaker preliminary Markit PMI for April. The service portion also came in weaker than forecasts. Initial Jobless Claims continues to surprise as it came in at another 50-year low. Markets may have been closed on Friday, but the government was still open and Housing Starts and Building Permits both released below estimates.
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Even though the holiday has passed, this week is much quieter on the data front with only 19 releases. The Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index was the first release this week, coming in lower than forecasts at -0.15, but still improved from the February print of -0.29. Existing home sales also came in weaker this morning at 5.21mm SAAR. Tomorrow we will get FHFA home prices for February. Further in housing data, we will also see New Home Sales for March which are expected to come in slightly lower. The Richmond Fed’s Manufacturing index is also due out tomorrow with no forecasted change. Wednesday will be very light with only MBA Mortgage Applications releasing but things will pick back up on Thursday with Durable and Capital Goods data. We will also see if Initial Jobless Claims can continue to impress at record lows. We cap off the week with the first release of Q1 GDP data. While productivity is not expected to see any change, inflation data is forecasted to come in much softer.