Investing.com — Stocks were lower heading into the final few minutes of trading on Thursday, taking a pause in a rally after cautious words about consumer spending from the largest U.S. retailer, Walmart (NYSE:).
Retail reports this week and next are expected to give a sense of how consumers are reacting to the current economic climate as the crucial holiday season kicks off. While big competitors such as Walmart and Target have noted a trend of consumers holding off on big purchases, other retailers have a more optimistic view on trends for the final quarter of this calendar year.
Consumer spending has helped keep the economy chugging along despite higher prices, and evidence that inflation is cooling faster than expected could help bolster the case for the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates steady.
Futures traders see the probability of a rate pause at the Fed’s December meeting at basically 100%. They see the same for the January meeting, and they see a probability of a rate cut as early as March.
A strong weekend for holiday travel is expected for the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., with more consumer spending on airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, meals out and other entertainment. The next jobs report comes out after that, giving the Fed more data to help decide its next move.
Here are three things that could affect markets tomorrow:
1. Housing starts
The housing market has been caught between a lack of supply and high mortgage rates keeping buyers at bay. But home building has been a bright spot. Housing for October are expected to come in at 1.345 million. The data are due out at 08:30 ET (13:30 GMT).
2. BJs Wholesale reports
Another retailer, the warehouse club BJs Wholesale Club Holdings Inc (NYSE:), is expected to report earnings of 94 cents a share on revenue of $4.9 billion.
3. Stopgap funding
President Joe Biden is expected to sign a stopgap federal government spending bill before Friday’s deadline, averting a government shutdown just in the nick of time after Congress pushed it through this week.