There were several data points for investors to sift through last week. Consumer credit rose by six and a half billion dollars in June – driven by an increase in student loans and marking 10 straight months of increases. The trade gap shrunk by $43 billion, this was the smallest gap in 18 months as lower oil prices cut demand for imports. And a new claim for jobless benefits fell by 6,000 to 361,000 and signals an improving labor market. In the week ahead we expect earnings reports from major retailers such as Target, Wal-Mart and The Gap, as well as data on small businesses, housing and inflation.
We’ll check the pulse of small business with the July survey from the NFIB. In June small business optimism fell to a 91.4 reading — as political uncertainty weighs on businesses. Many do not expect business conditions and sales to improve and as a result, are scaling back hiring plans. We’ll check on housing with the July housing starts report. In June new construction rose by 6.9 percent due to an increase in single family homes, but building permits – a gauge of future building activity– fell 3.7 percent.
We’ll get a read on inflation with the July consumer price index report –which tracks price changes for food, clothing and energy. In June prices were flat compared to the previous month as gas prices declined
And that’s your CNBC market look ahead for theGrio.com.