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Week ahead: Bernanke speech at economic symposium

By Neil Irwin

A steady drumbeat of data is coming out this week, but Friday is the big day for economy watchers.

Tuesday

Forecasters expect existing home sales to have fallen a steep 14.3 percent in July, as the brunt of the impact of the expiration of the home buyers' tax credit hits that market. That follows a 5.1 percent decline in June.

Wednesday

New home sales are expected to be unchanged in July.

Analysts expect durable-goods orders to show a 3 percent gain in July, or 0.5 percent when volatile transportation orders are excluded. Spending on capital goods has been a bright spot for the economy over the first half of the year, a pattern that looks to have continued in July.

Friday

The Commerce Department plans to revise its estimate of second-quarter gross domestic product, and it looks likely to be a doozy. Analysts expect growth in the April through June period, originally reported a 2.4 percent annual rate, to be revised down to 1.4 percent.

The main reason for the expected revision is new trade data that showed a steep rise in imports in June. But whatever the cause, a growth number in the 1 percent to 2 percent range translates into a recovery that is too slow to cut joblessness.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will give what could be a significant speech Friday when he takes the stage at an economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo. These will be his first public comments since the Fed policymaking on Aug. 10, when the central bank pledged to buy new securities as old ones run off, so as to keep the size of its balance sheet unchanged.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  |  August 23, 2010; 6:04 AM ET
Categories:  *Morning briefing  
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