Wall Street gets back to business after a holiday-shortened week.
On Thursday, the Dow closed 16 points lower and the NASDAQ rose 9 points.
Investors and economists are eagerly anticipating data on existing and new home sales, hoping for a spring renewal. The real estate market got off to a sluggish start this year due to severe winter weather, higher mortgage rates and labor shortages in some areas.
This is also a big week for earnings reports. Consumer giants McDonalds, Proctor and Gamble and Hasbro release figures, revealing important clues about last quarter's consumer behavior. Top tech companies Apple, Microsoft and Facebook will all report. And auto analysts will be watching general motors and ford. GM is facing scrutiny over faulty ignition switches.
Oil traders are back in business again. Good Friday is one of only three days a year when oil is not traded.
Investors are weighing the upheaval in Ukraine against a big spike in U.S. oil supplies - the largest domestic crude oil production increase in 13 years. Traders worry that Russia’s actions in Ukraine could be met with sanctions that could disrupt exports of that country’s oil and gas.
And Chinese e-commerce company Ali-baba may file a prospectus for its initial public offering this week. It's anticipated to be one of the largest i-pos in the U.S., in recent years.
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