With holidays shortening this week and last, economic data has been rather hush. Last week only saw seven releases, four of which came in below expectations while only two beat. The two beats were the Chicago Fed National Activity index—the only release on Christmas Eve—and the Chicago PMI. While both were better than expected, they were, in fact, down from the prior period. Coming back from Christmas, we saw weaker home prices through the Case-Shiller Index. Perhaps the most surprising data release of the week was the much weaker reading in the Richmond Fed’s manufacturing data release.
Turning to this week, as the holidays come to a close, things pick back up although the first half of the week is still quiet. This morning, the Dallas Fed’s manufacturing activity continued the streak of weaker regional Fed data. There will be no releases on New Year’s Day and only one data point Wednesday. That one release is the Markit Manufacturing PMI which is expected to come in unchanged at 53.9; the services counterpart will come out later in the week and is also expected to be unchanged. Thursday and Friday completely make up for the lack of data with nearly 20 releases scheduled between the two days. Thursday kicks off with mortgage applications and ADP employment data ahead of the Friday Nonfarm Payrolls report for December. Later in the morning, ISM releases their manufacturing index which will likely be considerably weaker given the string of poor regional Fed data. We will also see vehicle sales data released throughout the day. As just mentioned, Friday’s Nonfarm Payrolls report will be the most widely watched indicator of the week, and its release will not be affected by the shutdown.