NEW YORK (Reuters) – Without further signs of life in the lackluster economy or hints from the Federal Reserve the outlook is improving, stocks' three-month rally may run into more obstacles next week.
Investors will assess data on new and existing home sales that could point to whether the battered housing sector has bottomed. They will also keep an eye out for profit forecasts or warnings as the second quarter draws to a close.
"The kamikazes who ran the market up three months ago have now paused ... I'm in a situation where I say, 'prove it to me.' I want to see a trend where it really is a little bit better," said Cummins Catherwood, managing director at Boenning and Scattergood in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.
The Fed is widely expected to leave rates unchanged after its two-day meeting ends Wednesday, but investors will closely check its statement for clues on the central bank's economic outlook.
All three major U.S. stock indexes ended the week lower, with weaker-than-expected regional manufacturing data on Monday giving the week a negative tone from the start. The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) fell 3 percent, while the Standard & Poor's 500 (.SPX) index lost 2.7 percent and the Nasdaq (.IXIC) dropped 1.7 percent.
The benchmark S&P 500 has gained 36 percent since hitting a 12-year closing low in early March, but investors have been eager for signs that early hopes of an economic recovery aren't false.