NEW YORK (
-- Wall Street could take its cue from the health of the housing market on Tuesday after a
got the week off to a sour start.
The S&P Case-Shiller home price index is due to be released at 9 a.m. ET. The report, which tracks price changes in 20 key housing markets across the country, has a lag of two months so this latest report reflects December's data. The market is expecting a decline of 3.3%.
is due to report its fiscal first-quarter results before the opening bell. The average estimate of analysts polled by
is for a loss of a nickel per share on revenue of $508 million for the February-ended period.
Lennar has been clocking operating profits for several quarters and the stock is up a little more than 8% in the past year, Going back further, however, five years for example, and the stock is down a whopping 66%. The company is sitting on $3.1 billion of long term debt, meaning it owes more money than its equity.
Lennar bulls argue the company is positioned to benefit from a housing recovery, but that could take a long time.
This is a relatively quiet period for the markets with the start of the next earnings reporting season in the near distance with
report due on April 11. The key events for this week are likely to be the employment data on Friday and inflation data on Thursday.
Also on Tuesday, consumer confidence is set to be released at 10 a.m. ET. The Conference Board's February reading was the highest number in three years. This was mostly attributed to a perceived improvement in the job market.
The respondents felt that jobs were easier to get and saw future income as increasing. But if gas breaks through the $4 mark, as it has in some places, then confidence is eroded.
Another event that could get some attention from investors is that the Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments in
sex discrimination case.
This part of the case is focused on whether the class action claims can go forward, not whether the company actually discriminated against its female employees. Wal-Mart doesn't believe the case should continue and argues that it covers too many stores with too many different issues.
Some parts of the case date back ten years and could cost the retail giant billions of dollars in back pay and damages if it lost. Unsurprisingly, business interest groups are lining up to support Wal-Mart and civil rights and union groups are staked out against the retailer.
Noise about a potential federal government shutdown could increase as the latest temporary spending bill ends on April 8. Some progress has been made on a compromise deal, but the two sides are still pretty far apart.
Even as the Democrats and Republicans fight over this year's budget, the Treasury will want both sides to keep in mind that the government's debt ceiling could be reached soon and will possibly need to be raised. The limit may be breached as early as April 15.
Written by Debra Borchardt in New York
>To contact the writer of this article, click here:
>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to
>To submit a news tip, send an email to:
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.