A gauge of pending home sales ticked up 0.1% in January, but remained near a two-year low, signaling that upcoming activity may be slow, the National Association of Realtors reported Friday. The index of pending home sales was 95 in January, compared with 94.9 in December, which was the lowest reading since November 2011. Low inventory, declining affordability and poor weather are hitting results, NAR said. By region, the gauge of pending home sales in January rose 3.5% in the South and 2.3% in the Northeast, while falling 4.8% in the West and 2.5% in the Midwest. Pending sales typically close within two months. An index reading of 100 equals 2001's average contract activity level.
Consumer sentiment rose to a final reading of 81.6 in February, compared with 81.2 at the end of January, according to Friday reports on a gauge from the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a final February reading of 81.8, compared with a result earlier this month of 81.2. Economists watch sentiment levels to get a feeling for the direction of consumer spending.
Barring some really bad news from the emerging markets and especially Ukraine or the data to come out of China which is the manufacturing PMI which is forecasted to drop to 50.1 and anything lower will be a disaster to which the markets will react to drastically, this will happen on March 1st IST 6.30 AM. and followed by the Chinese HSBC PMI on Monday morning.