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Apr 3: Plethora of Data Lined Up

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Today's economic news, in baseball parlance, will likely consist of a series of singles but no home runs. A plethora of data, from February Factory Orders to March Auto Sales, are on the docket for Tuesday, a week before Q1 earnings season officially kicks off.

Factory Orders, due to be released at 10am Eastern Time (ET), are expected to have gained 1.4% following a January decline of 1.0%. The impact of this news item will likely be limited, however, as we have already seen an upswing in New Orders for Durable Goods, which is the most volatile part of Factory Orders.

March U.S. Auto Sales, scheduled for release at 9am ET, also add incrementally to the overall manufacturing narrative. But Ford (F) has already announced a 5% increase in March sales, and Chrysler is up 34% for the month. Both numbers are more or less in-line with estimates, and are the best numbers for both companies in several years.

Later today (2pm ET), the Fed minutes from the most recent FOMC meeting will be released. Again, the impact of this will be somewhat muted as the March 13 meeting headlines have already been digested by the market: moderate economic expansion and improved labor market conditions, tempered by continued struggles in the housing sector and a rise in oil and gasoline prices.

But what has been of interest in Fed minutes releases lately is the undercurrent of turbulence among Committee members. They have been among the most animated and contested Fed meetings ever. In the latest meeting, only one member -- Jeffrey Lacker -- voted against recent policy actions. According to the FOMC press release, Mr. Lacker "does not anticipate that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate through late 2014."




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