Stocks face jobs report test

July 3, 2011: 4:46 PM ET
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Stocks are in for a major reality check this week, with the jobs report for June on tap for Friday.

Stronger-than-expected manufacturing data helped stocks log the best weekly gains in two years last week. But stocks had been mired in a slump throughout May and June, as a series of economic reports showed the economy was not growing as fast as investors hoped.

June's employment report will be especially crucial as investors seek a fresh snapshot of the nation's employment picture, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Asset Management.

Weekly unemployment filings, which serve as a real-time indicator for the job market, have come in above the critical 400,000 level for the past 12 weeks. That prolonged weakness has dampened hopes for June's report.

Economists surveyed by CNNMoney expect the economy added 120,000 jobs last month. Typically, the economy needs to add about 150,000 just to keep pace with population growth. The unemployment rate is forecast to fall only slightly to 9%, from 9.1% in the prior month.

Market outlook: More turbulence ahead

"The May jobs report indicated that hiring was slowing, and we're hoping for a bounce, but employment numbers don't tend to turn on a dime like that," Ghriskey said. "Markets will be waiting for Friday's report to see what happened in the labor market last month."

Prior to May's disappointing increase of just 54,000 jobs, payrolls rose by more than 200,000 for three consecutive months.

Investors will also be on the lookout for companies to make so-called pre-announcements ahead of second-quarter earnings season. The season gets unofficially underway July 11, when Dow component Aloca (AA, Fortune 500) reports results.

Earnings: The market's bright spot

Ahead of that semi-official start, companies are aiming to temper looming bad news, by warning that profits and revenues may be lower than initial expectations.

"The economic recovery has weakened, and companies might remind investors that the spike in commodity prices will be making its way through the balance sheets," Ghriskey said. "That kind of news can drag on markets, especially after last week's run."

On the docket

Monday: All financial markets are closed for the celebration of Independence Day.

Tuesday: Factory orders are due from the Commerce Department after the start of trading. Orders are forecast to have risen 1% in May, after falling 1.2% April.

Wednesday: Before the opening bell, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas will issue its report on planned job cuts for June.

The Institute for Supply Management will put out its June services index after trading beings. Economists are looking for the ISM services index to fall to 54.0 from 54.6 in May.

Thursday: The government's weekly jobless benefits report comes out before the start of trading, with 425,000 Americans expected to file new claims for unemployment, after 428,000 were filed in the previous week.

Separately, a report from payroll services firm ADP is expected to show that employers in the private sector added 60,000 workers in June, after boosting payrolls by 38,000 in the previous month.

Friday: The government will release its highly-anticipated monthly jobs report before the opening bell.

Employers are expected to have added 150,000 jobs in June, after adding 54,000 jobs in May. The unemployment rate is expected to slip to 9.0%, from 9.1% in May.

May wholesale inventory figures are due shortly after the opening bell. Late in the afternoon, the Federal Reserve will release its May consumer credit report. To top of page

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