By Bryan McCormick
Today's calendar is busy, with the first look at August employment data, factory data and regular mortgage-loan statistics.
It begins with weekly data from the MBA on home-loan applications at 7am ET. I look only at the purchases, which last week was 157.9, because it's indicative of fresh economic activity. An increase of 5 percent or more would be considered bullish, and a decline of similar magnitude would be bearish. Economists don't provide estimates for this report.
The Challenger Job-Cut Report comes out at 7:30am ET, and tracks announced lay-offs that have not yet been implemented. That makes it a leading indicator of employment trends. Last month, the total increased to 66,400. A reading well above this level, by 10 percent or more, would be bearish. A drop back toward the 50,000 area would be bullish.
The ADP Employment Report at 8:15am ET will probably be one of the key reports of the morning. Consensus calls for the creation of 100,000 private-sector jobs. The range of estimates is very wide, at a very bearish 5,000 at the low, to a bullish 140,000 at the high. A number that breaks either end of this range will likely produce a very strong market reaction. The skew is toward the higher end of the range, so a large deviation below 100,000 could trigger a bearish reaction.
More job news comes out tomorrow with weekly jobless claims, and on Friday when the Labor Department publishes non-farm payrolls for August.
The Chicago PMI data is scheduled for 9:45am ET. Economists expect it to drop to 53.5 from 58.8 last month. The low end of the range is for a drop down to 49, which would indicate a bearish contraction in activity. The upper end of the range is at 56.1. Readings outside of the range to the upside or downside will trigger a strong market reaction. The index is calculated so that a number above 50 indicates expansion, and below it points toward contraction.
Factory Orders follow at 10am ET, and are expected to increase 1.9 percent from a month ago. Forecasts range from just 0.3 percent, which would be bearish, to a much larger and bullish gain of 3.5 percent. No one is expecting a negative number, so if one occurs it could trigger selling.
The EIA Petroleum Status Report on oil inventories will be released at 10:30am ET, following the American Petroleum Institute's competing report last night. The API showed a build of 5.128 million barrels, significantly ahead of forecasts. The EIA report is expected to report a 0.4 million-barrel increase.
If the number is bigger than expected and confirms the API report, it could be bearish for crude. A smaller or negative figure, which would indicate a draw, could be bullish for crude. The EIA is a government body, and the API is a private industry group. The two reports do not always agree either in terms of amount or direction.