Three major reports clustered at the end of the week will provide focus for traders.
The government's retail sales report, which is more comprehensive than the weekly private reports, will be issued at 8:30 a.m. New York time on Thursday. The producer price index follows on Friday at 8:30 a.m. And industrial production caps the week at 9:15 a.m.
All are trailing indicators, yet all are important measures of the pace of the economic recovery, which in turn helps determine when the Fed will yank away the punch bowl and send the party-goers packing.
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 survey, at 9:55 a.m. Friday.
Other reports of interest:
Wednesday: Petroleum inventories at 10:30 a.m. and the Treasury budget, which tracks the federal deficit, at 2 p.m.
Thursday: Import/export prices at 8:30 a.m. and business inventories at 10 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.
One member of the Federal Open Market Committee will speak: St. Louis Fed Pres. James Bullard on Monday.
This week I'll be analyzing new bull and bear signals among 2,320 stocks and exchange-traded funds that have some analyst interest. They are traded both on the major U.S. exchanges and over-the-counter. My universe is selected from mid-cap stocks and larger, defined as market capitalization of $1 billion and greater.
By my rules, I'm trading July options for short vertical spreads and the short legs of covered calls, iron condors, and calendar, diagonal and butterfly spreads, as well as September options for single calls and puts. Of course, shares are good at any time.