Contender number two in our mixed bag of economic data is "pending home sales", an index maintained by the National Association of Realtors that tracks the number of pending home sales. These are defined as a sale in which a contract is actually signed, but the sale has not yet closed. The Street looks at this index, but doesn't weight it as heavily as the new home sales report or the existing home sales report.
Last month, the index was up 5.1% for the month of March, to a level of 94.1. We have no analyst expectations, so let's go straight to the NAR for the press release. In April, the Pending Home Sales Index fell 11.6% to a level of 81.9. The chief economist for the NAR, Lawrence Yun, attributes the decline in contract signings to a variety of factors including "sharply rising oil prices, widespread severe weather with the heaviest precipitation in 20 years, and a sudden rise in unemployment claims."
 "Well, duh", right?