5 Stock Market Changers to Watch This Week – April 3, 2011

  • ISM Non-Manufacturing Index: In another sign of economic recovery and improvement in the labor market, the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index in February reached its highest level since August 2005. Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector increased in February for the 15th consecutive month. Data for March come out Tuesday at 10 a.m.
  • FOMC Minutes: There’s been a lot of discussion lately from various Federal Reserve Board presidents about whether the central bank should end its $600 billion bond-buying program before the June deadline and start to raise interest rates, especially as signs of inflation become stronger. How much disagreement among the FOMC members was prevalent at the March 15 meeting? Watch for the minutes on Tuesday at 2 p.m.
  • Jobless Claims: Initial claims have been trending lower since August 2010, and market experts expect the downward trend to continue over the long term. Continuing claims also dropped in the week ended March 19. Hopefully this is all an indication the labor market is improving going into the second quarter. Of course, a slowdown in firing and increase in hiring should bolster consumer spending. Updated data is due out on Thursday at 8:30 a.m.
  • Consumer Credit: Consumer credit continues to improve — January’s increase was the fourth consecutive expansion after 20 consecutive months of contraction. Not surprising, banks are more optimistic about the health of the U.S. consumer — FICO’s quarterly Survey of Bank Risk Professionals found greater confidence in a decline in loan delinquency rates than at any point in the past year. Bankers, though, are still concerned about mortgage foreclosures and credit availability for small businesses. Watch for February data on Thursday at 3 p.m.
  • Wholesale Inventories: January’s monthly wholesale inventories increase was the strongest in 14 months, another sign of stronger demand and strengthening confidence among businesses about the economic recovery. Watch for February data on Friday at 10 a.m.

from www.moneynews.com

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