Last week investors closely monitored the gridlock in Washington which led to a government shut down.

Due to the shut down the September jobs report was not released. However, the ADP private payrolls report showed 160,000 jobs were created. Manufacturing activity expanded in September  to its highest level in more than two years, while growth slowed in the service sector. In the week ahead we expect earnings reports from Alcoa, Yum brands and Wells Fargo, and several economic reports.

We’ll check the pulse of small businesses with the September survey from the N.F.I.B. In August small business optimism dipped slightly to a 94 reading, and the data was mixed, sales expectations improved while views on business conditions dampened.

But are consumers feeling better about the economy? We’ll find out with the Initial Consumer Sentiment Report for October. In September, sentiment fell to a 77.5 reading, its lowest level in five months, as higher interest rates weighed on confidence.

We’ll gain insight on consumer finances with the August Consumer Credit Report–which tracks credit card, auto and student loans.  In july consumer credit increased by more than ten billion dollars – driven by auto and student loans, but credit card use declined..