By Bryan McCormick
Today's economic calendar is relatively full but, in light of current market conditions, most traders will be focused particularly on the Federal Open Market Committee's meeting announcement at 2:15 p.m. ET.
Many traders are now hoping that QE3 (a third round of quantitative easing) will be announced at that time. If it is, we could see the recent global rout reverse course at least partially; if not, markets could fall under even more pressure.
The remainder of the calendar consists of the weekly retail sales data, as well as productivity and costs. All of these releases may well be overshadowed by broad market concerns.
At 7:45 a.m. ET, the weekly ICSC/Goldman Store Sales report will be released. There are two parts to the report, the week-over-week and the year-over-year comparisons. Most traders focus on the year-over-year number because it is a better indicator of the longer-term trend.
The last week-over-week change came in at -0.3 percent. The year-over-year data in the previous report showed a gain of 4 percent. Stronger-than-expected positive numbers would be seen as bullish, while negative numbers would be bearish.
Productivity and Costs will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. The consensus forecast for productivity is -0.7 percent, among estimates ranging from a more bearish -1.5 percent, to a bullish 1 percent. Unit labor costs are expected to rise 1.9 percent. The range is from a more benign 0.9 percent to a potentially inflationary 3.5 percent.
The weekly Redbook Store Sales will be reported at 8:55 a.m. ET. As with the ICSC-Goldman report, there are two components to watch. One is the more volatile month-over-month change, and the other is the year-over-year number, which shows the broader trend best.
The last month-over-month reading was -0.5 percent. The previous report's year-over-year data showed a gain of 4.5 percent. Negative numbers in either series would be bearish.