Hello friends and Fortune readers,
Despite the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, this week is filled with important developments in tech, retail, real estate, and economics. The tech conference circuit never stops. This week is no exception with Google’s developers conference in San Francisco. We’ll also take the pulse on the retail industry as more companies report earnings, the real estate industry through a series of monthly reports, and enough economic data to keep investors busy. Don’t forget that markets are closed Monday for Memorial Day.
1. Google goes geeky
Google (GOOG) will show off its latest gee-whiz technology at its annual I/O developers conference. The event, held on Thursday and Friday, is a high-profile stage for new technology from the tech giant that may or may not ever gain traction. Past installments included a splashy premiere of Google Glass, the connected eyewear that ultimately succeeded in only annoying people and generating ridicule. Likely topics this year include Android phones, the Google Fit operating system for smartwatches and virtual reality.
2. Retail earnings galore
A number of retail companies report their financial results this week as the latest earnings season winds down. Luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. (TIF), which is facing slowing sales overseas and among international tourists because of the strong dollar, is on Wednesday. So too is fashion retailer Michael Kors (KORS) and warehouse retailer Costco (COST). On Thursday, teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) will give its latest quarterly results as will GameStop (GME), the video game retailer.
3. How hot is the real estate market?
Home prices have skyrocketed across parts of the country in tandem with the economy. Expect updates about the industry’s health this week. The Federal Housing Finance Agency puts out its March home price index on Tuesday while the U.S. Census Bureau releases data on new home sales. On the same day, S&P/Case-Shiller will release its index of home prices in 20 metropolitan areas for the same month. Analysts expect the index to show a 4.8% gain in home prices. On Wednesday, the US Commerce Department will release its revised data on building permits for April. They will likely be in line with the previous month, during which the index added 1%. On Thursday, the National Association of Realtors will issue it latest report on pending home sales.
4. Economic data
The economy is showing mixed signals – at least in many sectors. A series of government reports to be released this week will give the latest snapshot showing whether activity is slowing down. The Commerce Department releases durable goods data on Tuesday while the Conference Board updates its index of consumer confidence. On Thursday, the Labor Department reports weekly unemployment claims. Meanwhile, on Friday, the Commerce Department reports on revised gross domestic product data for the first quarter after initially pegging growth at an anemic .2%.
5. The Fed: When?
Diving when the Fed will raise interest rates is nearly a full-time job for investors. Last week, they got good news in the release of the Fed minutes that indicated it won’t happen in next month. Fed watchers will have ample opportunity to read more tea leaves in the coming week with four Fed officials speaking publicly: Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer will talk in Tel Aviv on Tuesday while Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Lacker will be in Baton Rouge. On Thursday, San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams gives a speech in Singapore while Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Narayana Kocherlakota talks in Helena, Montana.