This Week: Construction data, Nordstrom earns, jobs report

Monday, March 1, 2021 | The Associated Press

A look at some of the key business events and economic indicators upcoming this week:


The Commerce Department issues its latest tally of U.S. construction spending Monday.

Economists project that spending increased by a modest 0.7% in January. That would follow a 1% increase in December, as strength in spending on residential projects, particularly single-family homes, offset a sustained weakness in nonresidential construction. With mortgage rates at historic lows, housing has been a star performer over the past year even as the pandemic ravages other parts of the economy.

Construction spending, monthly percent change, seasonally adjusted:

Aug. 2.0

Sept. -0.2

Oct. 2.5

Nov. 1.1

Dec. 1.0

Jan. (est.) 0.7

Source: FactSet


Wall Street expects another lackluster quarterly report card from Nordstrom.

The upscale department store chain has been struggling to grow its sales through the pandemic, though it managed to follow up two quarterly losses with a smaller profit in the August-October quarter. Analysts predict the company will report Tuesday that its earnings and revenue fell in the November-January quarter versus a year earlier, reflecting a sharp decline in sales during the holiday shopping season.


Economists predict hiring in the U.S. rebounded strongly in February after a dismal showing the previous month.

They expect the Labor Department will report Friday that nonfarm employers added 200,000 jobs in February. That would follow a gain of 49,000 jobs in January. That tepid increase made scarcely any dent in the nearly 10 million jobs that remain lost since the coronavirus intensified about a year ago, underscoring the pandemic’s ongoing grip on the economy.

Nonfarm payrolls, monthly change, seasonally adjusted:

Sept. 716,000

Oct. 680,000

Nov. 264,000

Dec. -227,000

Jan. 49,000

Feb. (est.) 200,000

Source: FactSet

Featured Article: Forex

7 Stocks to Watch When Student Debt Forgiveness Gets Passed

Now that the Biden administration is fully in charge, student debt forgiveness has moved to the front burner. Consider these numbers. There is an estimated $1.7 trillion in student debt. The average student carries approximately $30,000 in student loans.

If $10,000 of student debt were to be canceled, there are estimates that one-third of borrowers (between 15 million to 16.3 million) would become debt-free. Of course, if the number hits $50,000 as some lawmakers are suggesting the impact would even greater.

Putting aside personal thoughts on the wisdom of pursuing this path, it has the potential to unleash a substantial stimulus into the economy.

And as an investor, it’s fair to ask where that money would go. After all, there’s no harm in having investors profit from this stimulus as well.

A counter-argument is that the absence of one monthly payment may not provide enough money to make an impact. However, Senator Elizabeth Warren referred to the effect student loans have in preventing many in the millennial and Gen-Z generations from pursuing big picture life goals such as buying a house, starting a business, or starting a family.

With that in mind, we’ve put together this special presentation that looks at 7 stocks that are likely to benefit if borrowers are set free from the burden of student loans.

View the "7 Stocks to Watch When Student Debt Forgiveness Gets Passed".

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