Earnings season and global stimulus efforts helped keep the US markets pushing towards making some new record highs last week, with an assist from initial jobless claims falling more than expected in the week ended April 20. This week will bring a liberal amount of data from Washington and other number crunchers to complement earnings season being in full swing. Friday will be the “big daddy” with the latest report on nonfarm payrolls for April that investors will be hawking for signs of life in the jobs market after a disappointing March report.
Here’s the data with market moving potential (with a sprinkling of other closely watched, but not as potent reports):
Personal Income and Outlays for March – Personal income bounced back to increase 1.1 percent in February following a 3.7 percent drop in January. Consumer spending has not relented, despite increased taxes, rising 0.7 percent and 0.4 percent in February and January, respectively. For March, economists are expecting personal income to rise 0.4 percent and consumer spending to increase 0.1 percent.
Update: The Commerce Department reported that personal income improved 0.2 percent and consumer spending increased 0.2 percent in March.
Also on tap for Monday is Pending Home Sales and the Dallas Federal Reserve Manufacturing Survey.
No “major” economic data is being delivered, but investors will be watching the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index and Chicago Price Managers Index.
ISM Manufacturing Index for April – The Institute for Supply Management said that U.S. manufacturers expanded for the fourth straight month in March, albeit at a slower pace than February. The ISM manufacturing index registered a 51.3 mark for March, down from 54.2 in February, boosted by gains in the auto and housing sectors. Readings over 50 indicate expansion in manufacturing activity. Analysts are expecting to see slower expansion again, predicting a reading of 50.9 for April.
Federal Open Market Committee Announcement for April 30 to May 1 Meeting – After a bit of dissention in the previous meeting about keeping interest rates at historic lows and the long-term effects of the large quantitative easing initiatives, economists are expecting the latest meeting to provide similar sentiment and little change in policy. Investors will still be listening closely for any hints of potenential future changes in the efforts of the Federal Reserve to stimulate the U.S. economy.
To a lesser degree, investors will be looking at the ADP Employment Report, Construction Spending and Motor Vehicle Sales statistics that will be coming on Wednesday as well.
Initial Jobless Claims for the Week Ended April 27 – The Labor Department surprised last week by saying that first-time filings for jobless benefits decreased 16,000 to 339,000 in the week ended April 20. The four-week moving average, a less-volatile measure of labor trends, declined to 357,500. Economists are expecting a mild increase in claims this week to 346,000.
International Trade for March – In February, the U.S.’s trade deficit with the rest of the world improved to $43.0 billion from $44.5 billion in January, topping economist predictions of a widening deficit. Imports were flat for the month, but exports increased by $1.6 billion. For March, economists are expecting the trade deficit to tighten to $42.2 billion.
Employment Situation for April – The Labor Department hit the markets with sobering data for March, saying that the U.S. only created a paltry 88,000 jobs during the month, following 268,000 new jobs in February. Unemployment edged down to 7.6 percent in March from 7.7 percent in February, but only because more people gave up on looking for work. For April, economists are predicting the unemployment rate to be unchanged, but for the nation to have created about 151,000 jobs.
While the unemployment rate takes the front seat on Friday, investors will also be reading the latest reports on Factory Orders and the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index.