Economists will be paying attention to this month's U.S. housing data in hopes of finding a bottom in the market. Before that, however, the focus will be in Canada on the Bank of Canada's interest rate decision.

On Tuesday, the BOC will hold its regular monetary policy meeting. Economists are in agreement that following the April 17 release of March's CPI data, low inflation will enable the BOC to cut 50 basis points. Such a cut would bring interest rates down to 3.00%.

"The market is about fully priced for a 50bp rate cut..," said Stewart Hall, market strategist at HSBC Securities in a note to clients.

He added that the BOC is cutting rates in an attempt to limit the impact of the U.S. slowdown north of the border.



"A tame inflation profile for Canada suggests that the policy adjustment amounts to taking out cheap insurance against the U.S. economy, which is exporting further softness into the Canadian economy," he wrote.

Turning to the U.S, economists aren't expecting much improvement in the U.S. housing industry as the sector continues to churn out weak data.

Also on Tuesday, March existing home sales data will be released, which are expected to fall 1.6% following a 2.9% rise in February.

On Thursday there will be more housing data with the release of new home sales, which are expected to decline 1.0% following February's decline of 1.8%. Economists expect that 585,000 homes were sold in the month, which is down from February's sales of 590,000 units.

Economists at Wachovia said it is too early to start looking for a bottom yet, writing in a research note that one of the problems continues to be the high number of homes still on the market.

"It is a little early to celebrate the return of a good housing market," economists at Wachovia said. "Inventory levels remain extremely high in the existing market, as many homeowners are unwilling to sell at current market prices. While some progress has been made over the last six months, we expect new home inventories to improve before existing home inventories, as builders have a greater incentive and ability to cut prices."

All times in EST.

Monday:
Markets will receive Canadian International securities Transactions for February, which reached $0.916 billion in January.

8:30 CA International Securities Transactions FEB Prior: C$0.916
9:30 US Chicago Fed's Evans Gives Remarks for Money Smart Week
13:00 US TSY to Sell $20 B 3-Month Bills
13:00 US TSY to Sell $20 B 6-Month Bills
13:30 US Fed's Kroszner speaks on Community Development in Minnesota
14:30 US Chicago Fed's Evans speaks to High School Students in Illinois

Tuesday:
The highlight of the day will be the Bank of Canada monetary policy announcement. Economists expect the BOC will cut 50 basis points bringing interest rates to 3.00%.

In the U.S., existing home sales for March are expected to fall 1.6% following February's rise of 2.9%. It is expected that 4.95 million homes were sold, down from 5.03 million units sold in February.

Other housing data also point to more declines. The housing price index for February is also expected to decline, falling 1.4% following January's 1.1% decline.

7:45 US ICSC Chain Store Sales
8:55 US Redbook Retail Sales
9:00 CA Bank of Canada Rate 22-April Exp: 3.00% Prior: 3.50%
10:00 US Existing Home Sales March Exp: 4.93M Prior: 5.03M
10:00 US Existing Home Sales (M/M) March Exp: -1.6% Prior: +2.9%
10:00 US House Price Index (M/M) FEB Exp: -1.4% Prior: -1.1%
10:00 US Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index April Exp: 2 Prior: 6
13:00 US TSY to Sell $8 B 5-Year TIPS
13:00 US TSY to Sell 4-Week Bills
17:00 US ABC Consumer Confidence 20-Apr Prior: -39

Wednesday:
Markets will once again focus on Canada with the release of February retail sales, which are expected to rise 0.3% following January's rise of 1.3%

7:00 US MBA Mortgage Applications 18-Apr Prior: +2.5%
8:30 CA Retail Sales (M/M) FEB Exp: 0.3% Prior: +1.5%
8:30 CA Retail Sales Less Autos (M/M) FEB Exp: 0.5% Prior: +1.3%
10:30 US DOE U.S. Crude Oil Inventories 18-Apr Prior: -2356K
10:30 US DOE U.S. Gasoline Inventories 18-Apr Prior: -5517K
10:30 US DOE U.S. Distillate Inventory 18-Apr Prior: +52K
10:30 US DOE U.S. Refinery Utilization 18-Apr Prior: -1.63%
13:00 US TSY to Sell 2-Year Notes

Thursday:
The U.S. will get more housing data with the release of the new homes sales report. Economists forecast new home sales to decline 8% following February's decline of 1.8%. They expected 585,000 homes were sold in the month, which is down compared to February sales of 590,000.

The rising trend in weekly jobless claims will also garner attention as it creeps higher to the 400,000 mark. The consensus is for weekly claims to rise to 375,000 following last week's rise of 372,000. Continue claims are expected to come in at 2960 following last week's number of 2984

North of the border, the Bank of Canada will release its quarterly Monetary Policy Report.

8:30 US Durable Goods Orders March Exp: 0.1% Prior: -1.7% Revised: -1.1%
8:30 US Durables Ex Transportation March Exp: 0.6% Prior: -2.6% Revised: -2.4%
8:30 US Initial Jobless Claims 19-Apr Exp: +375K Prior: +372K
8:30 US Continuing Claims 12-Apr Exp: 2960 Prior: 2984K
10:00 US Help Wanted Index March Exp: 20 Prior: 21
10:00 US New Home Sales March Exp: 585K Prior: 590K
10:00 US New Home Sales (M/M) March Exp: -1.0% Prior: -1.8%
10:30 US EIA Natural Gas Storage Change 18-Apr Prior: +27
10:30 CA Bank of Canada Monetary Policy Report
13:00 US TSY to Sell 5-Year Notes

Friday:
The week ends on a softer note with the release of final print of the University of Michigan/Reuters consumer sentiment.

9:00 US Citigroup's Robert Rubin speaks on taxes at Princeton
10:00 US U. of Michigan/Reuters Consumer Sentiment April Final Exp: 63.5 Prior: 63.2

By Neils Christensen and edited by Cristina Markham