Data on the upside this week:
On an upbeat note, consumer confidence reached the highest reading in six years. The Conference Board reported the index hit 82.3, the strongest since January 2008. Consumers are more upbeat about their job prospects in the future, and about the overall economy.
And on the downside:
While the latest report for durable goods showed a strong headline number, core orders are slowing. Overall, orders rose 2.2% in February, reversing two months of declines; however, excluding transportation, orders slowed to a modest .2%. More to the downside was a drop in planned spending on capital goods, which could signal future sluggishness.
Sales of new homes hit a five-month low last month, with a 3.3% drop that brought sales to an annual rate of 440,000 units (the lowest since last September).