Here are the key events taking place on Thursday that could impact trading.
RAILROAD AGREEMENT: With the deadline to avert a freight railroad strike by Friday morning approaching fast, a tentative agreement has been reached according to the Labor Department.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh issued this tweet.
"Following more than 20 consecutive hours of negotiations,the rail companies and union negotiators came to a tentative agreement that balances the needs of workers, businesses, and our nation’s economy."
A BNSF railroad train hauling carloads of coal from the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming is seen east of Hardin, Mont. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File / AP Newsroom)
A strike could also cause major disruptions to passenger rail. Amtrak has already canceled all Thursday long-distance trains as negotiations continue.
RETAIL SALES: Economists surveyed by Refinitiv anticipate consumer spending in August to be flat for the second month in a row. Excluding the automotive component, spending is seen inching up 0.1% in August, below July’s 0.4% pop. Recall that the retail sales data are not adjusted for inflation, so there’s no way to tell if sales are up because more goods were purchased, or because consumers just paid more to cover higher prices.
JOBLESS CLAIMS: The Labor Department will release its tally of new claims for unemployment benefits for last week, expected to provide more evidence of a tight labor market that’s cooling.
Someone completing an unemployment benefits form. (iStock / iStock)
Expectations are for a slight increase to 226,000, after falling unexpectedly to a three-and-a-half month low of 222,000 the previous week. Continuing claims, which track the total number of workers collecting unemployment benefits, are expected to edge higher to 1.475 million.
FED REPORTS: The Empire State Manufacturing Survey is expected to rise to -13.0, remaining in contraction territory for a second month after plunging unexpectedly to -31.3 in August. A number below zero means that more New York-area manufacturers say business conditions are worsening rather than improving.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve will release its index of manufacturing activity for eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware. It’s expected to retreat to 2.8 this month after a surprise jump back into expansion territory in August. Like the NY Fed, any reading above zero means that more manufacturers say business conditions are improving rather than worsening.
Cargo is unloaded at the Port of Long Beach in California. (iStock / iStock)
MORE ECONOMIC DATA: Other reports include import and export prices for August, industrial production data and July business inventories.