Last week offered a mixed take on the economy. The Dow Jones industrials topped 14,000 even as government data showed the nation’s economy shrank slightly in the fourth quarter of 2012, largely because of federal spending cuts.
The first unemployment report of 2013 showed a strong start to the year, with the addition of 157,000 jobs in January, but the unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent.
The Federal Reserve announced no new changes in monetary policy and elected to keep the status quo.
This week’s economic data will provide updates on the state of consumer spending and international trade.
At 10 a.m., the Commerce Department releases data on factory orders for December. The measure indicates the health of the manufacturing sector. Analysts expect an increase of 2.3 percent, after no change in November.
The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index, which measures the growth of service industries, is released at 10 a.m. Analysts expect the index to show a slight uptick in January, a reflection of overall economic growth.
Weekly jobless claims come out at 8:30 a.m. Forecasters expect the number to fall to 360,000 from last week’s 368,000.
The Labor Department releases data on productivity and costs for the fourth quarter Thursday morning. Labor productivity is expected to decrease by 1.4 percent, while labor costs for the quarter are expected to rise by nearly 3 percent.
In the retail sector, chain-store sales figures for January will be released. This is a figure to watch because it’s the first sign of consumer spending patterns after the payroll tax increase. Analysts expect consumer credit to fall to $14 billion for December.
Across the pond, the European Central Bank is slated to announce its decision on monetary policy. No change in the current interest rate is expected.
Analysts expect the country’s trade deficit for December to narrow marginally, to $46 billion, after a widening in November. Wholesale trade for December should fall slightly, to 0.4 percent.
— Amrita Jayakumar