Wall St eyes this week on Yellen, jobs

Trader Michael Zicchinolfi works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. File photo / AP
Trader Michael Zicchinolfi works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. File photo / AP

A speech by US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and American jobs reports will provide key focus during a holiday-shortened week on Wall Street.

US markets are closed on Friday for the July 4th Independence Day holiday.

On Wednesday Yellen is scheduled to talk at the International Monetary Fund in Washington and investors will scrutinise her speech for clues about the timing of an interest rate increase following last week's comments by St Louis Fed chief James Bullard.

Bullard, while not a current voting member of the Fed's policy-making committee, rattled markets when said he expected the US central bank to lift rates by the end of the first quarter of 2015 as the economy gathers pace.

While the world's biggest economy is in recovery mode, it continues to hit speed bumps. Separate reports last week showed that American GDP contracted at a 2.9 per cent annualised rate in the first quarter, while consumer spending increased less than expected in May.

Citigroup last week downgraded its year-end forecast for the yield on the US 10-year note by 40 basis points, to 2.95 per cent, from 3.35 per cent, because of the slow growth.

"The data have been very disappointing - 2014 should have been a breakout year for growth with consensus estimates close to 3 per cent for the year," strategists Amitabh Arora and Kevin Shapiro wrote in a report, Bloomberg News reported.

Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.6 per cent, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index gave up 0.1 per cent. The Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.7 per cent.

Importantly, investors will eye the government's monthly jobs data, due Thursday, which is expected to show the American economy added 215,000 jobs in June, while the jobless rate held at a six-year low of 6.3 per cent. Bullard pointed to the labour market as a sign of the economy's strength.

In other jobs news, the ADP employment report is due Wednesday, while weekly jobless claims are also due on Thursday.

"Prices have finally achieved a certain valuation level that has become increasingly uncomfortable for market participants in the absence of further decisive evidence that the economy is on the right track," Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia, told Reuters.

So far this year, the S&P 500 has added 7.2 per cent, closing on Friday at 1,960.96. A recent Reuters poll showed market participants expect the index to hit 2,000 for the first time before the year ends.

Other data due in the coming days include the Chicago PMI, pending home sales index, and Dallas Fed manufacturing survey, due today; PMI and ISM manufacturing indices, and construction spending, due Tuesday; factory orders, due Wednesday; and international trade, PMI services index, and ISM non-manufacturing index, due on Thursday.

Today, San Francisco Fed President John Williams is scheduled to speak at a banking conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.

On Tuesday, a report is expected to show that China's official manufacturing PMI gained in June, adding to recent signs that the government efforts to help accelerate the pace of growth in the world's second-largest economy are beginning to pay off.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 shed 1.8 per cent last week, while the FTSE 100 Index dropped 1 per cent.

The latest data in the coming days include euro-zone CPI, due today; euro-zone unemployment as well as the region's manufacturing, due Tuesday; euro-zone producer prices, due Wednesday; euro-zone retail sales, due Thursday; and Germany factory orders, due on Friday.

The European Central Bank's policy members will meet on Thursday, although the bank is not expected to announce any new measures to bolster the region's growth.

- BusinessDesk

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