Here comes the second half

The second quarter and first half of the year are set to end with a bang as investors brace for the latest on housing, manufacturing and the labor market.

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By Alexandra Twin, CNNMoney.com senior writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Investors barrel into the second half of the year in a holiday-shortened trading week that's loaded with key economic news.

Reports on housing, manufacturing and the labor market dominate in a week that will also feel the influence of quarter-end portfolio rejiggering.

Typically, the quarter's end can push stocks higher as market pros look to "window dress," and spruce up their portfolios.

But stocks have been flat to lower for the last two weeks as investors step back after a big spring rally. That hesitation is likely to continue into next week.

Between the trading lows on March 9 and the trading highs of June 11, the S&P 500 (SPX) gained 43%. And that's probably it for the bulls until later in the fall, said Donald Selkin, chief market strategist at National Securities.

"Since the end of World War 2, the average short term bull market within a longer term bear market has been 42%," Selkin said. "We've done that already so a rest was inevitable."

That rest has amounted to a decline of about 4% on the S&P 500 over the last two weeks and that could stretch on a bit more. Selkin said stocks will likely chop around in a range through the summer, sell off more in the fall and then stage another big rally toward the end of the year when some of the economic and corporate news starts to improve.

A full week's worth of economic news will be stuffed into four sessions, as Wall Street takes a three-day weekend that includes the 4th of July holiday.

The June pending home sales index Wednesday and the June employment reports Wednesday and Thursday will likely draw the most attention. In May, employers cut far fewer jobs from their payrolls than economists had forecast and investors will be looking to see if that trend continues.

On the docket

Monday: Bernard Madoff faces sentencing in the morning. The Ponzi schemer has already pled guilty to 11 counts of fraud, money laundering, theft and perjury. He is expected to be sentenced to life in prison, with a statutory maximum of 150 years on the table.

Tuesday: The June Consumer Confidence index from the Conference Board is expected to have risen to 55.1 from 54.9, according to a consensus of economists surveyed by Briefing.com.

The S&P/Case Shiller 20-city home price index is expected to have fallen 18.75% in April from a year ago, after posting a year-over-year decline of 18.7% in March.

The Chicago PMI, a regional read on manufacturing, is expected to have risen to 38.5 in June from 34.9 in May.

Wednesday: The June reading on private-sector employment from payroll services firm ADP is due before the start of trading. Employers are expected to have cut 363,000 jobs from their payrolls in June after cutting 532,000 in May.

The Pending Home Sales index from the National Association of Realtors is expected to have risen 1.1% in May after rising 6.7% in April.

The Institute for Supply Management's June manufacturing index is expected to have risen to 44 from 42.8 in May, according to forecasts.

May construction spending is expected to have fallen 0.5% after posting a surprise rise of 0.8% in April. The Commerce Department report is due out after the start of trading.

The weekly crude oil inventories report from the Energy Information Administration is due shortly after the start of trading. June auto and truck sales are due throughout the day.

Thursday: The week's biggest economic news is the June employment report from the Labor Department, due before the start of trading. Employers are expected to have cut 370,000 jobs from their payrolls after cutting a much smaller-than-expected 345,000 in the previous month.

The unemployment rate, generated by a separate survey, is expected to have risen to 9.6% from a 26-year high of 9.4% in May.

In light of the monthly payrolls report release, the weekly release from the Labor Department, also due, will have little impact.

After the start of trading, the Commerce Department will release the May factory orders report. Orders are expected to have risen 0.2% after rising 0.7% in April.

Friday: All financial markets are closed for the 4th of July holiday weekend. To top of page

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