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Five Things to Watch: Hello, Summer

Homes sales still slumping, world leaders bidding adieu and gas prices impacting everything. Here's what we're watching...

Car on road
Car on road

Driving on Empty: What's more American than driving long, long distances? Apple Pie? Well, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer driving season and it'll cost you a pretty penny to take that road trip, with gas prices well above $4 in many parts of the country. It's a lot more complicated than just the cost of oil, with refinery production playing a key role. Where's the price of gas headed?

Hurting Home Sales: The latest pending homes sales data is released by the National Association of Realtors at 10:00am ET Friday. This month's number is even more important than usual as it reflects the number of contracts signed in April, the heart of spring selling season. Analysts aren't looking for much good news in the struggling housing market, as a two percent decline is expected. Then again, there's good news if you're a prospective home buyer, with fixed mortgage rates at their lowest levels since December.

The American Consumer: In other economic data Friday, it's all about the consumer. The May sentiment index releases at 9:55am ET, providing a valuable snapshot of confidence in an environment dominated by, again, high gas prices! Analysts expect the May numbers to repeat April's 72.4 reading.

Say Cheese: It's picture day for world leaders as the G8 wraps its two-day meeting in Deauville, France with a "family photo"… and a whole handful of meetings, to be fair. But, really, does anything get accomplished at these summits? Diplomacy works in mysterious ways.

Theaters Welcome Back the Wolfpack: Cinemas have suffered from one their worst slumps in years, with total box office sales down 12 percent year to date. Two massive sequels — Kung Fu Panda II and Hangover II — could change that. The latter could break all sorts of records, with experts estimating it will tally the biggest R-Rated opening ever.