Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Look Ahead: Unemployment Claims, ISM Services, and ECB

by Bill McBride on 5/02/2012 09:21:00 PM

The focus tomorrow will be on initial weekly unemployment claims, the ISM service index, and the ECB post-meeting press conference.

• Initial weekly unemployment claims will be released at 8:30 AM ET on Thursday. The four week average of weekly claims has been increasing over the last three weeks, possibly indicating some renewed weakness in the labor market, or possibly just noise. The consensus is for claims to decline to 378,000 from 388,000 last week.

• At 10:00 AM, the ISM non-Manufacturing Index (Serives) for April will be released. The consensus is for a slight decline in the index to 55.9 from 56.0 in March (over 50 is expansion). Given the weakness in the Chicago PMI, this index might disappoint (but the ISM service index doesn't move markets like the ISM manufacturing index).

• Also at 10:00 AM, the Trulia House Price & Rent Monitors for April will be released. This is a new index from Trulia that uses asking prices adjusted both for the mix of homes listed for sale and for seasonal factors. For those looking for signs of an inflection point for house prices this is an important index. Asking prices tend to lead the repeat sales indexes by two or more months. This index increased in both February and March (seasonally adjusted), but asking prices were still down 0.7% year-over-year in March. It will be an important change if this index is up year-over-year in April.

• Other data include Productivity and Costs for Q1, and the Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index™, a measure of diesel fuel index consumption for April.

• The European Central Bank (ECB) is meeting tomorrow and no change is expected to interest rates. However the post-meeting briefing might be interesting as ECB President Mario Draghi will probably be asked to clarify his recent support for a "growth pact".

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