After a barrage of economic data last week, which included GDP showing the nation grew nearly twice as fast as expected and a mixed employment situation that missed on job additions while the unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent, the current week will be relatively devoid of reports. “Market moving” reports will come on Tuesday and Thursday. Outside of that, investors will be watching the Institute for Supply Management’s Non-Manufacturing Index Monday morning at 10:00 AM EDT. In June, the ISM services index dropped to 52.2 from 53.7 in May, mostly because of a decline in new orders. Economists think that the index will climb back up to 53.0 for July.
On Tuesday, the Commerce Department will deliver at 8:30 AM EDT June’s international trade balance. In May, exports declined 0.3 percent and imports rose 1.9 percent, taking the U.S. trade deficit to $45.0 billion from $40.1 billion in April. In April, imports climbed 2.4 percent, signaling that domestic demand is improving. A strengthening U.S. dollar makes goods more expensive for foreign countries to buy. That, coupled with recessions in Europe and China’s growth slowing, has kept steady pressure on U.S. exports. For June, economists expect the trade deficit to contract to $43.0 billion.
Thursday will bring the weekly report from the Labor Department on initial jobless claims for last week at 8:30 AM EDT. In the week prior, claims for jobless benefits plunged by 19,000 to 326,000, representing the lowest level since January 2008. Economists had expected claims to hover around 345,000. The only caveat is that July is typically a month that many dismiss because of volatility related to the July 4 holiday and planned shutdowns at auto plants for retooling that can skew the numbers. That being said, August is now upon us and the general feeling is that the labor market is continuing to improve, perhaps even better than most thought it would. For the week ended August 3, economists are predicting claims to climb back upward to about 338,000.
That’s about as quiet of a week in economic data that the markets ever get. To that end, investors will be left to conjecture about the Federal Reserve’s move as to when to begin tapering its stimulus package and another healthy dose of earnings reports.