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Slew of economic data due could sway Wall Street

Weakness in reports that will include unemployment claims, factory orders and indexes for manufacturing and the service sector could lead to a sell-off, one expert says.

January 02, 2011|Times wire services

A bout of profit taking seems likely early in the new year after the Standard & Poor's 500 index ended its best December in almost two decades, but stocks may have further to run at the start of 2011.

The potential is certainly there for shares to derail this week, with some important economic reports due. The U.S. unemployment report for December will be released Friday, and a repeat of last month's disappointing numbers could send stocks down.

"The data has to be good for the markets to continue to go up, and if there is any weakness in the data, we think we could have a sell-off," said Zahid Siddique, a portfolio manager for Gabelli Equity Trust in Rye, N.Y.

Analysts in a Reuters poll expected that the economy added 126,000 jobs in December, up from 39,000 in November but still not enough to significantly dent unemployment.

A spate of global purchasing managers indexes also are due this week, including the Institute for Supply Management's two monthly surveys. They are expected to show growth quickened in December in the U.S. services and manufacturing sectors.

On Monday, the institute will release its manufacturing index for December, and the Commerce Department releases construction spending for November.

On Tuesday, the Commerce Department will report on factory orders for November, and the Federal Reserve will release minutes from its December interest rate meeting. Automakers release vehicle sales for December.

The institute Wednesday will post its service sector index for December, and Thursday, retailers release sales data for December.

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