It's all about jobs.
This Friday will see the release of March's employment data. The markets are expecting an unemployment rate of 6.6% and nonfarm payrolls of 205,000. And, it expects hourly earnings to increase by 0.2%.
"Generally, the expectation is unemployment will continue to decline and that the pace of job gains will continue to recover," says CNBC contributor Gina Sanchez, founder of Chantico Global. "We've seen personal income rising. That's great for market expectation."
US Commerce Department data last week showed both personal income and spending in February rose 0.3%.
"I think the markets are still waiting for continued confirmation that we're in fact getting out of the hole we dug ourselves into during the 'polar vortex,'" says Sanchez. "The markets could be in a wait-and-see mode, but a good jobs report would be very good for the markets."
Mark Newton, Chief Technical Analyst at Greywolf Execution Partners, sees the market benchmark index, the S&P 500, as trading in a consolidating range. He believes traders should look at the bottom end of the range as a significant level.
"Specifically, I would look at 1,840," says Newton. "That's been very key. And, a lot of people have been looking at the fact that small caps, particularly the Russell [2000 index] and the NASDAQ [composite index], have declined. But, on the S&P, you've managed to hold this level in quite resilient fashion over the last few months."
Newtown sees the S&P 500 as trading in an upwards-sloping trading range for the past year. As well, the index has been above its 50-day moving average for well over a month. While fewer stocks are hitting new highs, he believes stocks remains strong.
"The indices have managed to hold in pretty resilient fashion," says Newton. "We're ending the month and the quarter likely on a positive note given all the price activity over the last couple of days. So, my thinking is that it's still right to be constructive in the next few weeks."
To see the full discussion on what's next for the market – and S&P 500 index in particular – with Sanchez on the fundamentals and Newton on the technicals, watch the video above.
- Investment & Company Information