Store Sales, Labor Reports Top Today's Calendar

Includes: DIA, QQQ, SPY
by: optionMONSTER
by Bryan McCormick
Today's calendar has the usual assortment of economic releases but also will include the Monster Employment Index and Chain Store Sales.

Chain Store Sales--more popularly known as same-store sales--has no fixed timetable for its release, as each company reports independently. The process can begin very early in the pre-market and extend up to the opening bell. We can expect the retail sector to be active as each company's results come out.

The Monster Employment Index will be released at 6 a.m. ET. The index tracks help-wanted advertising on the Internet. Many traders consider the index to be a good leading indicator of the health of the job market.

There is no forecast available for the index, which came in at 136 last month. A reading higher than that would be bullish, while one in the 120s or lower would be bearish.

Jobless Claims will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. The consensus forecast for initial claims is 410,000, which would be an improvement from last week's 429,000. Estimates range from an optimistic 390,000 to a bearish 450,000.

Productivity and Costs will also come out at 8:30 a.m. ET. Productivity is seen gaining 1 percent, while labor costs are expected to come in at up 0.8 percent. Estimates range from a bearish -0.3 percent to a bullish 3.1 percent.

Forecasts for labor costs range from a bullish -0.4 percent to a bearish gain of 2.4 percent. The worst possible outcome would be a sharp drop in productivity and a large gain in labor costs. Rising labor costs and falling productivity squeeze margins for companies.