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More up-to-date data on the economy is expected

November 02, 2009|Associated Press

The stock market's volatility adds urgency to a flood of data this week that could help signal whether investors have been prescient or premature in the bets they've been placing on a rebound in the economy.

Much of this week's data on employment, manufacturing, services and home sales will provide investors more up-to-date snapshots of the economy than last week's numbers on the third quarter. The Federal Reserve also will weigh in after it wraps up a two-day meeting on interest-rate policy.

The week may be pivotal because investors will be searching for clues about how the country will stand with less government hand-holding than in the third quarter, when the economy grew at an annual pace of 3.5%.

Some stimulus programs that drummed up car sales and puffed up the overall economy, such as "cash for clunkers," have ended.

Traders also will be sifting through comments from the Fed for signals on when policymakers might start to raise interest rates, which are at essentially zero, a record low.

The biggest report of the week is expected to be the Labor Department's October employment report. Unemployment stands at a 26-year high of 9.8%. Analysts believe unemployment rose in October and will top 10% by next year.

Even though unemployment doesn't tend to fall until well after economic recoveries have begun, some investors are worried that the threat of layoffs will prove so severe that it will undermine the economy's ability to recover by keeping consumers away from stores.

Increased spending by households is considered key to a sustained recovery.



At a glance


National Assn. of Realtors releases its pending home sales index for September.

Commerce Department releases construction spending figures for September.

Quarterly earnings reports due from Clorox, Ford and Humana.


Major automakers report U.S. sales for October.

Commerce Department releases factory orders for September.

Quarterly earnings reports due from Viacom, MasterCard and Kraft Foods.


The Federal Open Market Committee holds its rate-setting meeting.

Quarterly earnings reports due from Cisco Systems, Qualcomm, News Corp. and Time Warner.


Retailers report sales results.

Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims data.

Quarterly earnings reports due from Activision Blizzard, DirecTV Group, CBS, E.W. Scripps, Thomson Reuters, Time Warner Cable and Cigna.


Labor Department releases employment data for October.

Federal Reserve releases consumer credit data for September.

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