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The jobs report and congressional politics may matter more for markets than earnings in the week ahead

A pedestrian wearing a face mask looks at a smartphone while passing in front of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, on Monday, July 20, 2020.

Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The market could lose some of its exuberance in the week ahead as the calendar turns to August, and investors await Friday’s July employment report and keep their eyes on Washington.

The focus will also be squarely on politicians, as Congress struggles to find a middle ground on a new fiscal spending package and decide the fate of the $600 a week unemployment supplement that was set to expire July 31. Former vice president Joe Biden is also expected to name his running mate in the coming week.

The jobs data will be crucial, particularly since the number of people filing for unemployment benefits has been edging higher, instead of falling back, as expected. According to Refinitiv, about 1.36 million new jobs are expected, well below the 4.8 million added in June, and the unemployment rate is expected to fall to 10.7% from 11.1%.

Trading around the report could be volatile, since some economists expect more than 2 million jobs were added, and some even see flat or […]

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