Investing.com - Trading volumes are expected to remain light due to the New Year’s break in the week ahead, reducing liquidity in the market and increasing the volatility.
Global financial markets will focus on Friday’s minutes of the Federal Reserve’s December policy meeting for further hints on the future path of monetary policy.
On the data front, the U.S. will release reports on manufacturing activity and consumer confidence, as traders look for more clues on the strength of the economy.
Meanwhile, in China, market players will be looking out for data on the country's manufacturing sector, amid lingering concerns over the health of the world's second biggest economy.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of the five biggest events on the economic calendar that are most likely to affect the markets.
1. Global Markets Celebrate New Year’s Day
Stock markets in the U.S., Europe, UK, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan will remain closed on Wednesday in observance of New Year’s Day.
This time of year tends to be beneficial for investors as the so-called Santa Claus rally has historically given stocks on Wall Street a short-term boost.
During the final five trading days of the year and the first two trading days of the new year, the S&P 500 has posted a 1.3% gain on average since 1950, according to the Stock Trader’s Almanac.
2. Fed FOMC Meeting Minutes
The Federal Reserve will release minutes of its December policy meeting on Friday at 2:00PM ET (19:00GMT).
The U.S. central bank held interest rates steady following its meeting on December 11, in a widely expected decision, and signaled that borrowing costs are likely to remain unchanged for some time.
New economic projections showed 13 of 17 Fed policymakers foresee no change in interest rates until at least 2021, hosing down expectations for a rate hike any time soon.
3. U.S. ISM Manufacturing PMI
The U.S. Institute for Supply Management (ISM) will publish its manufacturing survey for December on Friday at 10:00AM ET (15:00GMT), as investors look for more clues on the strength of the sector which has been hit hard by the U.S.-China trade dispute.
The data is forecast to show a slight improvement to a reading of 49.0, up from 48.1 in October.
Anything above 50.0 signals expansion, while readings below 50.0 indicate industry contraction.
The purchasing managers' index (PMI) is seen as a good indicator of economic conditions and it is even preferred by some analysts to gross domestic product, which might be affected by poor seasonal adjustment and is prone to revisions.
4. U.S. CB Consumer Confidence
In addition to the manufacturing data, the Conference Board will release its December update on U.S. consumer confidence at 10:00AM ET (15:00 GMT) Tuesday.
The consensus forecast is for a reading of 128.2, improving from 125.5 in October.
If confirmed it would be the best reading in three months.
5. Chinese Manufacturing Surveys
The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing is to release data on December manufacturing sector activity at 01:00GMT on Tuesday, amid expectations for a modest downtick to 50.1 from a reading of 50.2 in October.
The Caixin manufacturing index, which focuses more on small and mid-sized firms, is due at 01:45GMT Thursday. The survey is expected to dip by 0.1 points to 51.7.
Under pressure from faltering domestic demand and bruising U.S. tariffs, China's economy cooled to a near three-decade low in the third quarter, pressuring Beijing to roll out more stimulus to avert a sharper slowdown.