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May 2, 2005

Statistical Releases and Other Events To Note in the Week Ahead

From US News and World Report, a list of statistical releases and other events to note for the coming week:
The week ahead, By Paul J. Lim, U.S. News & World Report, 5/2/05

This week, it's all about the economy, as the Labor Department gets set to release its much-anticipated April jobs report. But before that takes place on Friday, Alan Greenspan faces a tough choice Tuesday. Amid twin worries of rising inflation and a slowing economy, the Federal Reserve Board chairman must choose between raising rates aggressively to slow down inflation (which could slow the economy even further) or allowing the economy to grow unfettered (which could lead to an even bigger outbreak of inflation).

Monday, May 2:

MANUFACTURING INDEX: The Institute for Supply Management will release the latest results of its closely followed index of factory activity. Last week, Wall Street received several bits of bad news concerning the health of the economic expansion. So investors are expecting a slight drop in the April ISM Manufacturing Index.

Tuesday, May 3:

FED DAY: The Federal Reserve Board's monetary policy committee meets this afternoon to set the nation's interest rate policy. The vast majority of economists expect another quarter-point rate hike after today's meeting. But the big question: Will the Fed indicate a willingness to be more aggressive with future rate hikes to nip inflation in the bud? Or will the central bank hint at holding off on future rate hikes to let the economy grow more quickly?

CHALLENGER JOB CUT REPORT: The outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas is due to report on its monthly tally of announced layoffs.

Wednesday, May 4:

SERVICES INDEX: Today, the Institute for Supply Management releases the latest results of its nonmanufacturing index, which gauges the health of the service sector. Like the manufacturing index, the services survey is expected to show a modest slowdown.

Thursday, May 5:

EMPLOYMENT INDEX: The online recruitment firm Monster.com announces the latest results of its Monster Employment Index, which gauges the health of the job market based on online recruitment activity.

PRODUCTIVITY: A key force that kept a lid on inflation during the late '90s was increased productivity, which kept the costs of goods and services down and prices low. So Wall Street will be paying close attention to this morning's Labor Department report on first-quarter productivity trends.

Friday, May 6:

JOBS REPORT: Today, the Labor Department reports on the number of new jobs created by the U.S. economy in April. A few months ago, Wall Street was hoping for strong job creation. But now that inflation is a big worry, investors are also fearful of a big jobs boom, as that could hint of underlying wage pressures building in the economy. Of course, if too few jobs were created last month, it would be the latest sign of a slowdown in the economy.

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