A busy day for economic data offers two important reports in the premarket. First, investors will be attuned to the Weekly Jobless Claims data, though they could be blizzard impacted. The economists’ consensus sees an increase in claims to 359K, up from the 341K reported last week. Also at 8:30 AM ET, look for the latest Consumer Price Index report for the month of January. The economists’ consensus sees the CPI up slightly by 0.1%, versus December’s absence of change. Excluding food and energy prices, the Core CPI is seen higher by 0.2% this month, versus the 0.1% increase in December.
Two lightly followed data points reach the wire next. The Markit PMI Manufacturing Index is up at about 9:00 AM. The consensus view is for a slight deterioration in February, with the index seen falling to 55.5, down from 55.8 in the final reading for January. This report is the “flash” reading or first reading of the index for February. At 9:45 AM ET, we’ll get the latest Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index. This weekly measure of consumer sentiment rose slightly last week to -35.9. It’s down though from highs reached toward the end of last year.
We’ll have another manufacturing data point at 10:00 AM Thursday when the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Survey is produced. This regional index is expected by economists to have improved in February to a mark of 1.1. In January, the index read negative 5.8, which marks contraction, so such a change would be meaningful. At the close of last week, the NY Fed Index improved substantially and broke well into expansionary territory.
Leading Economic Indicators are due for January at 10:00 AM ET. In December, the LEI posted a solid 0.5% increase, but the index was definitely impacted positively by Hurricane Sandy, which set Weekly Jobless Claims lower. Economists are looking for the LEI to rise by 0.3% in this report. This is an important data point given the Q4 GDP contraction of 0.1% noted earlier this month.
Also at 10:00 AM, Existing Home Sales will be reported for January. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg see this measure of the used home market showing an annual pace of sales of 4.9 million, which is down just slightly from December’s pace of 4.94 million.
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