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Finance Week Ahead: What to Look Out For

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How time flies: Yet another trading quarter has come to an end and investors are already feeling a teary-eyed nostalgia. On Thursday, following some nail-biting days as the S&P 500 came within mere ticks of a record close only to meet frustrating resistance, the index finally broke through, hitting 1,569.19 to best its October 2007 close of 1,565.15. Next record to beat: Its intraday high, also in October 2007, of 1576.09. Expect more nail-biting to come.

Meanwhile, the final numbers for the major indices in Q1: Dow up 11.25%, S&P up 10.3% and the Nasdaq up 8.21%. Cyprus be damned, despite some blips, those indices pushed ahead. Can it continue or is that much-discussed true pullback on tap for next week and beyond? Stay tuned to see what the second quarter might bring.

Next week’s highlights include the key jobs report for March, auto sales, overseas monetary-policy meetings and a “very special Facebook announcement.” Also be sure to remember that the week kicks off with April Fool’s Day – so beware of outrageous headlines and childish co-worker pranks.

Monday, April 1

  • April Fool’s Day – all beware being fooled by faux headlines!
  • Auto sales for March will be reported
  • Other data: ISM manufacturing index, PMI manufacturing index, construction spending
  • EU PMI manufacturing data (4:00 a.m. ET) and unemployment rate (5:00 a.m. ET)

Tuesday, April 2

  • Data: Redbook weekly look at sales at chain stores, discounters, and department stores (8:55 a.m. ET), Factory orders (10:00 a.m. ET)
  • Obama meets Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the White House, for talks on economic issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region

Wednesday, April 3

  • ADP employment report comes in ahead of Friday’s key jobs report for March
  • Other data: ISM non-manufacturing index (10:00 a.m. ET), EIA petroleum status report (10:30 a.m. ET)
  • EU GDP, wholesale prices and index of consumer prices (5:00 a.m. ET)
  • The Bank of Japan has its monetary policy meeting/announcement (new BOJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s first)
  • Earnings: Monsanto Co. (there has been much buzz this past week about the "Monsanto Protection Act") , ConAgra Foods

Thursday, April 4

  • More employment data ahead of Friday’s key jobs report, with the Challenger job cut report (7:30 a.m. ET) and weekly jobless claims (8:30 a.m. ET)
  • Bank of England monetary policy announcement (7:00 a.m. ET)
  • The European Central Bank makes its monetary policy/interest rate announcement, 7:45 a.m. ET. There's been some speculation that the ECB may cut rates, but ECB President Mario Draghi may have bigger fish to address given the drama queen antics of Cyprus over the past couple of weeks.
  • Other data: Bloomberg consumer comfort index (9:45 a.m. and EIA natural gas report (10:30 a.m. ET)
  • Facebook has invited journalists to the unveiling of what it is calling its "new home on Android." The event will take place at its Menlo Park headquarters. Are we finally getting a new Facebook phone? Does anyone want a Facebook phone? Stay tuned.

Friday, April 5

  • Key jobs report for March at 8:30 a.m. ET
  • Other data: International trade (8:30 a.m. ET), consumer credit (3:00 p.m. ET)
  • MF Global will present its creditor-payment plan to a bankruptcy court in Manhattan