Traders get a first look at the 1st quarter's gross domestic product at 8:30 a.m. Friday. Far from being a leading indicator, the GDP is the trailingest of them all. It does, however, set the climate within which deploy our machinations in order to make a buck.
Existing home sales, out Monday at 10 a.m., track the larger part of the housing market, and new home sales published Tuesday at 10 a.m. track the smaller part. Both are important measures of the recovery.
Durable goods orders, out Thursday at 8:30 a.m., is a confidence measure of sorts. It tracks sales of big-ticket items of the sort bought by both individuals and major corporations. The idea is that people won't commit money for large capital goods unless they're confident they'll have the cash flow to pay for it.
Leading indicators (in descending order of importance):
The interest rate spread between 10-year Treasuries and the federal funds rate, reported continually during market hours.
The M2 money supply, at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
The S&P 500 index, reported continually during market hours.
Average weekly initial jobless claims, at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
The index of consumer expectations from the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment report, Friday at 9:55 a.m.
Other reports of interest:
Tuesday: The purchasing managers index flash release, Tuesday just before 9 a.m.
Wednesday: Petroleum inventories at 10:30 a.m.
I also follow the Baltic dry index, released daily, tracking the volume of global maritime shipments of coal, iron ore, grain and other raw materials.
This week I'll be analyzing new bull and bear signals among 4,144 stocks and exchange-traded funds that have some analyst interest. They are traded both on the major U.S. exchanges and over-the-counter.
By my rules, I'm trading May options for short vertical and butterfly spreads, iron condors and the short legs of covered calls and diagonals as well as August options for single calls and puts. Of course, shares are good at any time.