Consumer data tops economic docket

David Russell (david.russell@optionmonster.com)

Today's economic calendar is dominated by consumer data and comments by the Federal Reserve.

Weekly mortgage applications at 7 a.m. ET are the first item on the schedule. They declined 5 percent last week, partly because of storm disruptions. While they're not tracked by analysts, an especially strong or negative reading could affect housing stocks.

The Commerce Department will release October retail sales at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists predict contraction of about 0.3 percent excluding autos, while the overall number is expected to be little changed. Stronger readings could positively sway sentiment, while weaker ones would be viewed bearishly.

Producer prices are reported at the same time, with forecasters anticipating an increase of 0.1 percent. The report will probably have a muted impact on trading because inflation hasn't been a major concern for investors recently.

At 2 p.m. ET, the Fed will release minutes of its last meeting. Investors may scour the report for clues about the pace of further monetary stimulus.

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