Economic Indicators: Retail Sales and Global Economy

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Steve Grasso, Director of Institutional Sales at Stuart Frankel & Co. and frequent commentator on CNBC, expects investors will be looking to see what is new in Retail Sales, Empire State Mfg Index, Philadelphia Fed Survey, Jobless Claims, and the NFIB Small Business Index. Grasso says retail sales are important, in particular the dynamic between upper-end stores and lower-end stores, which have been doing better than the middle-tier stores. Higher gas and commodities prices have impacted retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, and Kohl’s. Europe, China, U.S., banks, jobs, and the housing market weigh heavily on trader's minds; overall traders are not expecting a strong September.

The Philadelphia Fed Survey and the Empire State Mfg Index will be in focus, because of the disappointing manufacturing data over the past several weeks. While most economists are not forecasting a double dip recession, Grasso is skeptical and says a consensus among economists signals we are heading into a recession. The NFIB Small Business Index, which provides a pulse of what businesses are experiencing, will be closely watched. It’s small business that drives the economy, says Grasso.

Dallas Federal Reserve Bank (“Fed”) President, Richard Fisher will speak on monetary policy in a global context on Monday in Dallas. Grasso said traders will be closely following Fisher’s comments, especially since the Fed has been so divided, with three members dissenting at the last FOMC meeting. Market watchers will be looking to see if Fisher’s tone is hawkish or dovish.

Various other economic indicators are also due out, with the full announcement schedule for the week of September 12th as follows:

  • Monday:  None
  • Tuesday:  Import and Export Prices and Treasury Budget
  • Wednesday:  Producer Price Index, Retail Sales, and Business Inventories 
  • Thursday:  Consumer Price Index, Empire State Mfg Index, Jobless Claims, Industrial Production, and Philadelphia Fed Survey
  • Friday:  Treasury International Capital and Consumer Sentiment

Click this link for the full economic calendar for the week.