By Kasra Kangarloo
WASHINGTON (MNI) – The week ahead features the Producer Price
Index and the monthly international trade balance as well as
consumer confidence and some second-tier data.
The March trade balance report, to be released Thursday at 8:30
a.m. ET, will be watched for its possible effect on the second estimate
of first-quarter GDP, since this figure is only estimated by the
Commerce department in the advance report. Since the expectation is for
a significant widening in the trade deficit, any less negative
surprises could mean a meaningful upward revision to GDP.
Initial jobless claims will also, as always, be worth watching, as
the previous week’s data showed a surprise drop in claims, possibly
indicating a reversal in the recent upward trend. The past month’s climb
in claims, which peaked at 392,000 the week ending March 20th, has been
concurrent with weaker payrolls data. A downward trend in claims, if it
takes hold, would likely indicate renewed strength in the jobs market.
Initial jobless claims will be released Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Other jobs data include JOLTs job openings and labor turnover survey, to
be released Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. ET, and the employment trends index,
to be released Monday at 10:00 a.m. ET.
The University of Michigan consumer confidence report, to be
released Friday at 9:55 a.m. ET, will likely be a reflection of
confidence in the labor market, as the last two months of payrolls data
have showed a slowdown in jobs growth. The last confidence report,
however, showed a surprise to the upside. In the past couple months
consumer concerns have been more focused on the effect of gas prices on
The IBD/TIPP economic optimism index, another consumer confidence
report, will also be released Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. ET. Though the
report does not move markets, directional changes are often reflected in
similar releases by the Conference Board and the University of Michigan.
Inflation data, which includes the Producer Price Index and import
prices, are expected to show more or less the same trend seen for the
past year or so — restrained, modest core inflation, with some possible
swings off volatile energy prices.
The Producer Price Index will be released Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET
and import prices will be released Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Other economic releases over the week include consumer credit on
Monday at 3:00 p.m. ET, the National Federation of Independent Business’
small business optimism index on Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. ET, the Mortgage
Banker Association’s mortgage applications index on Wednesday at 7:00
a.m. and the Treasury deopartment’s budget statement on Thuesday at 2:00
The week’s Federal Reserve speakers are:
Federal Reserve chairman Bernanke will deliver a speech titled
“Banks and Bank Lending: The State of Play” at the Chicago Federal
Reserve’s annual conference on bank structure and competition on
Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Richmond Federal Reserve president Lacker will be speaking on
“Technology, Unemployment and Workforce Development” in North Carolina
on Monday at 7:15 p.m. ET.
Dallas Federal Reserve President Fisher will speak on a panel in
Dallas, Texas on Tuesday at 12:45 p.m. ET.
Minneapolis Federal Reserve president Kocherlakota will speak to
the Economic Club of Minnesota on monetary policy in Minneapolis, MN on
Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. ET and then again on Thursday at 1:20 p.m. ET.
Cleveland Federal Reserve president Pianalto will speak to the
Women’s Business and Leadership Conference in Lexington, Kentucky at
10:45 a.m. ET.
Philadelphia Federal Reserve president Plosser will speak at a
banking conference in Philadelphia, PA on Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. ET.
— Kasra Kangarloo is a reporter for Need to Know News
** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **