Besides the midterm elections, investors had several economic reports to sift through last week. The Federal Reserve said the pace of the economic recovery remains slow and announced it will purchase $600 billion in long term treasuries to help the recovery and keep inflation in check. Jobs also dominate headlines; in October the unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.6 percent, as more than 150,000 private sector jobs were created. African American unemployment fell to 15.7 percent while black teen unemployment dipped slightly to 48 percent, the highest of any group. In the week ahead, investors await data on small businesses, international trade and consumer sentiment.
We’ll check the pulse of small businesses with the October sentiment survey from the NFIB. In September the Optimism Index edged up slightly to an 89 point reading, but small businesses remain reluctant to hire and invest in new equipment.
We’ll get a read on the economy with the September International Trade report— which looks at exports and imports. In August the U.S. trade gap increased to more than $46 billion, as imports rose two percent.
We’ll get a read on consumer spending with the initial consumer sentiment report for November. In October consumer sentiment declined to a 67.7 reading, the lowest since November 2009 as Americans still worry about jobs.