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Jobless claims, earnings on agenda

David Russell (david.russell@optionmonster.com)

Today's calendar includes moderately important economic data and lots of earnings reports, with Amazon and Microsoft topping the list.

Germany, France, and the Eurozone announce composite purchasing managers indexes early in the session, which could affect trading. The first data release on this side of the Atlantic is initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists expect a reading of 341,000, down from 358,000 in the previous week.

A lower number would suggest that fewer Americans lost their jobs, while a higher one would mean the opposite. It could sway sentiment because weak employment would give the Federal Reserve more reason to keep stimulus in place when its next monetary announcement is released on Oct. 30.

The monthly trade balance for August will be reported at the same time and is expected to narrow to $38.6 billion from $39.1 billion in the previous month. It usually has little effect on trading.

New-home sales for September follow at 10 a.m. ET and are expected to come in at a 432,000 annualized pace, compared with 421,000 in August. The data will probably be dismissed because the recent drop in interest rates should improve demand for housing.

Companies issuing results before the opening bell include Franklin Resources, Cameron International, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Celgene, Dow Chemical, Ford, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, International Paper, 3M, PulteGroup, and Xerox.

AMZN and MSFT are the big names in the afternoon. Others include Eastman Chemical, KLA-Tencor, Western Digital, and Wynn Resorts.

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