Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Week Ahead: Jobs and Fireworks

Sometimes I think the American founding fathers blew it.

They voted to declare independence on July 2, but signed the document explaining why on July 4. And then forever after they referred to the event as the Glorious Fourth of July, thereby denying future generations of Americans, in three years out of seven, the possibility of a three-day weekend without burning vacation time.

I mean, you can't really move the Fourth of July to July 2 in order to allow three consecutive days off the way you can move President's Day, which isn't named after a date on the calendar.

The Fourth of July this year is on Wednesday. So markets will trade Monday and Tuesday, closing two hours early on Tuesday, stay closed all day on Wednesday, and then resume work, bleary eyed after a night of fireworks, on Thursday for two more days of trading.

If only that revolutionary generation of Americans had consistently referred to the holiday as Independence Day, we wouldn't have a split trading week.

Holiday or not, there are some fireworks to be found among the econ reports, culminating on Friday at 8:30 a.m. with the Labor Department's employment situation report, which includes the politically important unemployment rate and the number of jobs created.

The day before, on Thursday, the executive outplacement company Challenger Gray & Christmas will release its job-cut report at 7:30 a.m., the payroll company ADP will issue its employment report at 8:15 a.m., followed by the government's weekly unemployment compensation claims at 8:30 a.m.

The job search site will release its employment index sometime on Friday.

Leading indicators out this week:

Monday: The deliveries on time index, a measure of vendor performance, from the Institute of Supply Management's manufacturing survey, at 10 a.m.

Tuesday: Manufacturers' new orders for consumer goods and materials and new orders for non-defense capital goods, both from the factory orders report at 8:30 a.m.

Thursday: Weekly unemployment compensation claims at 8:30 a.m.

Friday: The average hourly workweek in manufacturing from the employment report at 8:30 a.m.

Traders should also keep an eye on these financial leading indicators: The M2 money supply, out Thursday at 4:30 p.m. from the Federal Reserve, and two reported continually during market hours: The S&P 500 index and the interest rate spread between 10-year Treasuries and the federal funds rate.

Other reports of interest:

Monday: Construction spending at 10 a.m.

Tuesday: Motor vehicle sales throughout the day.

Thursday: Institute of Supply management non-manufacturing index at 10 a.m. and petroleum inventories at 11 a.m.

By my rules, as of Monday I can trade August vertical spreads, and October single options and straddles. Of course, shares are good at any time.

Good trading! And Happy Fourth of July!!

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