Earnings news, the monthly employment report, and commodity prices top the list of what to watch in the week ahead. The big economic release is the monthly employment report due out on Friday, with monthly job gains of over 200,000 expected, continuing recent trends. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 5.3%. Wage growth will be an important indicator in that report, after the Labor Department’s Employment Cost index on Friday showed the smallest gain in wages and benefits since 1982. Other key data next week include personal income and consumer spending, which are expected to rise 0.4% and 0.2%, respectively. Traders will remain focused on corporate earnings reports, as hundreds of companies report their quarterly scorecards. Dow component Disney (DIS) will release results after the closing bell on Tuesday. There are four Action Alerts PLUS portfolio companies reporting results, including Tyson Foods (TSN), Halyard Health (HYH), Marathon Oil (MRO) and EOG Resources (EOG). Michael Khouw, Portfolio Manager of Action Alerts OPTIONS tells TheStreet’s Rhonda Schaffler that he will be watching oil, and that down seems to be the only direction for commodity prices. He recommends that investors hedge their exposure to the energy sector as a group by using put spreads on the Energy SPDR (XLE).
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