While last week’s batch of economic data was sparse in number, the reports that were released continued to paint a picture of an economy that was on the cusp of recovery. This week’s data calendar is much more importantly, the pace, composition and sustainability of the economic recovery.

From the June index of leading indicators on Monday, July 20 to the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index for the second half of July on Friday, July 24, every piece of economic data released last week came in above expectations, was better than the prior month and showed that the overall economy was getting better – not just that it had stopped getting worse. That news, along with a solid week of Q2 earnings reports – and more importantly, earnings guidance – from S&P 500 companies allowed the S&P 500 companies to post a second consecutive weekly gain, leaving the index at its highest weekly close since October 3, 2008.

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