Now that the election’s over, many investors will be turning their attention to the looming “fiscal cliff.”

Unless Congress acts, taxes will return to Clinton-era levels on Jan 1., and automatic spending cuts will kick in.

That would reduce U.S. federal budget deficits by $1.1 trillion over the next two years, but it could also send the economy back into recession, according to the Congressional Budget Office. So congressional negotiations over how to avert this scenario will be watched closely.

In the meantime, this week’s data will include inflation numbers and projections from the Federal Reserve.


At 2 p.m., the Treasury Department releases its budget numbers for October. Analysts expect the deficit to have increased slightly, to $115 billion for the month.


At 8:30 a.m, the Census releases data on retail sales for October; analysts expect to see a slight drop in the numbers.

Also at 8:30 a.m., the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its Producer Price Index for October. Inflation has remained low in recent months and analysts expect the PPI to have remained flat in October.

At 2 p.m., the Federal Open Market Committee releases the minutes of its recent meetings, giving further indication of how members are thinking about monetary policy.


At 8:30 a.m., the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its initial unemployment claims data for the previous week, which are expected to tick up from 355,000 to 373,000, due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

Also at 8:30 a.m, BLS releases its inflation numbers. Analysts expect that the Consumer Price Index remained flat in October.

Worth watching, too, are the results of the Empire State economic survey at 8:30 a.m. and Philadelphia Fed survey at 10 a.m. Both are expected to show continued economic weakness in the Northeast United States.


Keep an eye on the industrial production numbers at 9:15 a.m. from the Federal Reserve. Analysts expect that production dipped in October after mild growth in September.

— Brad Plumer