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Highlights of US economic data

Sunday, January 20, 2008

WASHINGTON (Thomson Financial) - The following is a synopsis of US economic indicators to be released this week, with forecasts provided by Thomson's IFR Markets. The week will be particularly light, with jobless claims and existing home sales the only data points to be released.


The number of individuals filing first-time claims for unemployment is expected to jump in the week ending Jan 19 to 321,000, after the number of claims fell by 21,000 to 301,000 in the previous week.

Jonathan Basile from Credit Suisse said the previous week's drop "speaks to seasonal noise" and that his group is "looking for a bounce back" in the upcoming release.

"We don't believe we're on an improving trend for layoffs," he added.

The number of individuals who continue to receive unemployment for the week ending Jan 12 is expected to drop down to 2.70 mln. The previous week's continuing claims shot up by 66,000 to 2.751 mln.

Harm Bandholz from HVB Americas said that because continuing claims data lags behind initial claims data, the previous week's jump in continuing jobless claims reflects late December increases in initial claims, and will have likely dropped in the week ending Jan 12. However, "there's no doubt that there's an upward trend in continuing claims," Bandholz said.

Also on Thursday is the release of existing home sales, which are expected to have dropped to 4.950 mln in December from 5.0 mln in the previous month.

Bandholz said there will likely be "renewed decline in existing home sales" because pending home sales, a "pretty good leading indicator," fell more than expected in November.

Joseph Brusuelas from IDEAglobal said: "Given the signficant problems in credit intermediation it is little surprise that the multiyear melancholy within the housing sector will continue to deepen."

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