Weak data almost everywhere are likely to result in an European Central Bank interest-rate cut, and they could lower market expectations for an early end to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s asset-purchase program.
The U.S. April employment release will be a good test of whether the March report was a fluke or a sign of sustained weakness. Economists polled by Reuters are looking for an increase of 150,000 jobs, following the shockingly weak gain of 88,000 jobs in March. The unemployment rate likely remained at 7.6 percent.
Home-price gains likely accelerated in February, while construction posted another solid rise in March. Auto sales are expected to clock in at a five-month high seasonally adjusted annual rate of 15.4 million.
In Europe, the main event this will be the ECB’s interest-rate meeting, at which Capital Economics senior European economist Jennifer McKeown expects a cut in the main refinancing rate to 0.5 percent.
“While it is a close call, we think that the continued weakness of the business surveys together with a reluctance to disappoint financial markets will be enough to convince the ECB to act,” McKeown said in a note to clients.
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Otherwise, key euro-zone data releases will center on inflation in April and employment in March. While inflation may have fallen again, unemployment is likely to have risen -- and economic sentiment probably deteriorated.
In Japan, March industrial-production and labor-market data will be in focus. Debates over the contents of the country’s growth strategy also deserve attention.
In emerging markets, investor attention will be on Brazil industrial-production data and the Reserve Bank of India meeting.
Below are entries on the economic calendar April 29-May 3. All listed times are EDT.
8:30 a.m. -- Economists expect a 0.3 percent rise in personal income and a 0.1 percent increase in personal spending in March.
10 a.m. -- The pending home-sales index, tracking signed contracts on single-family homes, condos, and co-ops, is likely to increase 1 percent in March to kick off the spring selling season. This forecast would leave the series 7.1 percent ahead of year-ago levels and consistent with the overall improvement in existing home sales and the housing market.
Euro zone -- European Central Bank Executive Board Member Joerg Asmussen will speak at an Institute of International Finance meeting in Berlin.
Euro zone -- Final consumer-confidence index for April.
Japan -- March industrial production.
TBA -- The Federal Open Market Committee will conduct the first day of its two-day meeting.
9 a.m. -- Economists expect the S&P Case-Shiller home price index to rise 1 percent month-over-month in February, similar to January’s increase, for a 9.2 percent year-over-year rise. The gain in prices reflects a tight housing market, as can be seen by low inventory, falling time on the market and increasing bids per house. The 20-city index has risen for 12 straight months, and economists expect this momentum to continue.
9:45 a.m. -- The April Chicago PMI probably remained largely unchanged at 52.5 after a print of 52.4 in March. Although the Empire State and Philadelphia Fed indices both declined on the month, the Chicago PMI has been running a bit higher than these other indices recently on a relative basis, and economists expect this trend to persist.
10 a.m. -- After dropping to 59.7 in March, the Conference Board measure of consumer confidence probably edged up slightly to 60.0 in April.
Cyprus -- Parliament votes on bailout deal.
Euro zone -- Flash harmonized index of consumer prices for April.
Euro zone -- Unemployment rate for March.
Italy -- Preliminary HICP and consumer price index for April.
Germany -- Unemployment change for April.
Germany -- GfK consumer-confidence index for May.
Spain -- Preliminary first-quarter gross domestic product.
All day -- Auto sales for April. Analysts polled by Reuters expect the annual sales pace to be 15.28 million in April, essentially unchanged from March. While other areas of the economy have shown signs of weakness, the auto sector continues to ride strong, persisting demand.
7 a.m. -- The Mortgage Bankers Association's, or MBA's, mortgage-applications indexes for the week ended April 26.
8:15 a.m. -- Economists forecast the ADP employment report will show private payrolls increased by 150,000 in April, compared with 158,000 in March and 237,000 in February. The main driver of the weakness in March was a longer-lasting winter, as manufacturing and construction payroll growth was especially weak. Because the weather has improved, economists expect a reversal in April. Since the new ADP methodology was put in place, the average difference between the ADP and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics private-payroll figures has been around 44,000.
8:58 a.m. -- Markit Manufacturing PMI for April, final reading.
10 a.m. -- Construction spending likely increased by 0.8 percent in March, following a 1.2 percent gain in February.
10 a.m. -- The Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index unexpectedly fell to 51.3 in March, and economists look for another small decline to 50.9 in the April reading. This would be consistent with similar drops in the regional manufacturing surveys, but would suggest that manufacturing activity has remained in expansionary territory, despite overall economic growth slowing in the second quarter.
2 p.m. -- At the May FOMC meeting (April 30-May 1), economists do not expect any change in the Fed’s policy stance and they anticipate few changes to its statement. There is no press conference or release of economic projections associated with this meeting, so investors will have to await subsequent FOMC minutes and communications for additional detail.
Euro zone -- Public holiday.
China -- National Bureau of Statistics manufacturing PMI index for April.
Japan -- April auto sales.
U.K. -- Manufacturing PMI index.
7:30 a.m. -- Challenger layoffs for April.
8:30 a.m. -- Economists see initial jobless claims at 345,000 in the week ending April 27, up from 339,000 in the prior week.
8:30 a.m. -- The trade deficit likely narrowed further, to around $42.5 billion in March from $43.0 billion in April.
8:30 a.m. -- Productivity (output per hour worked) in the nonfarm business sector likely posted an increase of 1.9 percent in the first quarter of this year, consistent with growth in output outpacing growth in hours worked. Economists are also looking for an increase in unit labor costs of 0.4 percent, reflecting the combination of a modest gain in output per hour and a stronger rise in compensation per hour.
Euro zone -- ECB interest-rate announcement and press conference.
Romania -- Interest-rate announcement.
Czech -- Repo-rate announcement.
Euro zone -- Final manufacturing PMI for April.
China -- Final HSBC manufacturing PMI for April.
8:30 a.m. -- Economists forecast a soft employment report in April with job growth of 150,000, following March’s disappointing 88,000-job gain, and an unchanged unemployment rate of 7.6 percent. The government probably cut 18,000 workers, while the private sector added 168,000. Budget sequestration has resulted in furloughs and hence income reduction across the federal government, but only limited job cuts thus far. Economists believe the private sector will respond with a lag to the decline in government spending. The private-sector workweek probably remained unchanged at 34.6 hours in April, while average hourly earnings only increased 0.2 percent from March.
10 a.m. -- Factory orders are expected to show a decline of 2.5 percent in March, following a 3.0 percent increase in the prior month.
10 a.m. -- The softness of retail spending may have further dampened the ISM nonmanufacturing index in April. Economists have penciled in a drop to 54.0 in April from 54.4 in March.
12:30 p.m. -- Federal Reserve Board Gov. Daniel Tarullo (an FOMC voter) will speak on "Evaluating Progress in Regulatory Reforms to Promote Financial Stability" at the Peterson Institute in Washington.
12:45 p.m. -- Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker (an FOMC nonvoter this year) speaks on the "Economic Outlook, May 2013" before the Risk Management Association of Richmond.
Euro zone -- Publication of the spring 2013 European Commission forecasts.
India -- RBI repo rate and RBI reverse repo rate.
China -- NBS nonmanufacturing PMI index for April.
Euro zone -- Producer price index for March.
Sources: Central banks, European Commission, Reuters, Market News, Capital Economics, Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch.