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Monday Business | PREVIEW / Some of the major business
and economic events scheduled for this week.

Wall Street Eyes Key Reports--Especially Jobs

August 28, 2000|Times Wire Services

A stream of economic data on tap this week, including the unemployment report for August coming Friday, is expected to make a splash. But with trading floors sparsely staffed, the market is likely to spend the week rambling toward the long Labor Day holiday weekend, when the U.S. stock market will be closed Monday. With many Wall Streeters more focused on holiday plans or scheduling tee times for golf rounds than on their computer screens, trading is likely to be thin and potentially volatile. "We could see prices of No-Doz and coffee go up, though, because the biggest challenge may be keeping people awake," said Bill Meehan, chief market analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald.

Wall Street gets its first taste of key economic data today in the form of U.S. July personal income and spending data, followed later in the week by the U.S. August consumer confidence index. But the most influential data will probably come Friday, with the closely watched U.S. payrolls report for August and the National Assn. of Purchasing Management's August survey on the manufacturing index set for release. With the tight U.S. labor market a cause of great concern to the Fed, the jobs report will probably attract the most attention. The jobless rate stood at 4% in July. Investors will have a careful eye trained on the average hourly earnings portion of the jobs report, since it helps detect upward pressures in the cost of wages, which are a major thorn in the inflation-battling Fed's side.

Other data to be released today suggest that tight will remain the operative word when it comes to jobs. According to a closely watched survey, U.S. companies are continuing to show strong demand for workers going into the final quarter of the year. Of the nearly 16,000 companies surveyed by staffing agency Manpower Inc., 32% said they planned to add staff in the final three months of the year--the strongest year-end level seen in the 25 years Manpower has been taking its survey. The survey for the third quarter was also the highest mark set for that period. Among industries, the wholesale and retail sectors showed particularly strong demand for workers ahead of the holiday season. But manufacturing companies were also short of workers, with 32% of durable goods makers saying they needed more staff--the highest year-end level since 1978.

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