Jobs, Inflation, Production Data on Tap

Includes: DIA, QQQ, SPY
by: optionMONSTER

by Bryan McCormick

Today's economic reports include the Consumer Price Index, Jobless Claims, Industrial Production, and the Philadelphia Fed Survey. There are four important reports on today's calendar, any or all of which could move markets.

These will be the last reports of the week as the markets head for quadruple witching tomorrow.
We will also get the SEMI book-to-bill numbers after the close, which are important for semiconductor companies. The last reading for that survey was a bearish 0.85. Ratios for the book-to-bill that are 1 or higher are bullish.

The Consumer Price Index and Jobless Claims will both be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Most economists expect a small rise in the consumer headline inflation rate, to 0.4 percent, which was the same as the previous month. Without food and energy in the calculation, the forecast for the "core" rate is a rise of 0.1 percent.

The range for the headline number is widest, from a neutral 0.3 percent, to a more inflationary reading of 0.6 percent. Given the big non-core number in the producer price index yesterday, traders will be looking for signs of pass-along to consumers.

Initial Claims within the Jobless Claims report are expected to fall to 387,000 from the previous week's 397,000. The range for this week is very wide, from a more bullish drop to 370,000 claims at the low, and a bearish spike higher to 490,000.

Industrial Production data will be reported at 9:15 a.m. ET, just before the market opens. Most economists expect a rise in production of 0.6 percent against the small drop of -0.1 percent posted last month. Capacity utilization is expected to come in flat.

Expectations for production range from a neutral and potentially disappointing rise of 0.3 percent to a big gain of 1.2 percent. A drop would be the outlier surprise, given the skew to bullish expectations in forecasts.

The Philadelphia Fed Survey will be released after the open at 10 a.m. ET. Expectations are for a drop to 30 from the previous month's 35.9. The range is from a bearish 24 to a bullish 37.5.

This number, as with many regional surveys, is volatile. It may take a break at either end of the range to provoke a large market reaction.