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Jobless claims, foreign data on agenda

David Russell (david.russell@optionmonster.com)

Initial jobless claims are the main item on today's calendar, but overseas news could affect sentiment as well.

Late last night HSBC's preliminary purchasing managers index for China came in at 49.6, a seven-month low. Readings below 50 indicate contraction.

The Chinese data could have a significant impact on commodities. Germany, France, and the Eurozone are slated to release their own PMI numbers early this morning.

The Labor Department follows with weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists predict a reading of 348,000, down from 360,000 in the previous week. Lower numbers are potentially bullish because it would mean that fewer Americans had lost their jobs.

The FHFA releases its March home price index at 9 a.m. ET, and the Commerce Department reports April new home sales one hour later. Economists an annualized 425,000 reading on the sales, compared with 417,000 in March.

Natural-gas inventories follow at 10:30 a.m., which could potentially impact trading in the energy sector.

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