As much of the country thaws out and heads into spring and, in some places, early summer, the temptation may be to think major news is packing its bags and headed for its vacation home. It's not. And this upcoming week will blast you back to reality.
(Related: What are the Occupiers planning for tomorrow's massive 'May Day' protest?)
Intrepid financial writer Joe Weisenthal over at Business Insider has put together a list of what's happening this week and is calling it "one of the biggest weeks that anyone can remember." That's a bold statement, but he has the information to back it up. Here's what he says:
Monday, April 30 is probably going to be the quietest day, but even that will be stacked. On the US economy front, we've got fresh data for Personal Income & Spending, the Chicago PMI Report, and the Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook Survey. There's also a boatload of earnings that day, as there will be every other day next week.
Tuesday, May 1 is another big day for meaty data. In the US we get the ISM Manufacturing Index, Construction Spending, and auto sales. Auto sales are particularly important to us, as they make for a great barometer for employment (which we'll find out a lot more about later in the week). ALSO on Tuesday we get the beginning of one of the most exciting days for the economy: Global PMI Day. That's when all the countries have their April PMI reports released. It will really kick off with a bang, when the Chinese Manufacturing PMI comes out at 10:30 US time. Actually, Japanese and South Korean numbers come out a bit earlier in the evening, so that's technically when things will kick off.
Wednesday, May 2 will see a continuation of the PMI releases. In the early hours of the US day, we'll get fresh numbers for all of the European economies. Then in the US that day we get Factory Orders and the ADP jobs report, a key preview for Friday's main-event Non-Farm Payrolls Report. And remember, there are tons of earnings throughout.
Thursday, May 3 will see the entrance of the central banks. The ECB is meeting in Barcelona, and will make its latest monetary policy decision at 7:45 AM ET. It is possible that we'll get some movement, or a chance in policy. The Eurozone is clearly on the skids, economically, and a rate cut is called for. The Mario Draghi press conference at 8:30 AM ET will be scrutinized to see what, if anything, he says about the surge in rates in Spain and Italy and so forth. There's been a growing din about 'growth' in Europe, and how to make it happen. We'll see if Draghi moves the ball forward on this front. In the US on Thursday we get initial jobless claims (which have been uncomfortably high three weeks in a row), productivity data, and the ISM Services report.
Friday, May 4 brings the granddaddy of economic reports: The Jobs Report. The current estimate is for just 162K new jobs created... which would definitely signal a downshift from the recent trend. Of course, there's tons of sub-data within the jobs report that will be picked over like crazy.
So that's the end of the workweek, but the busy week doesn't end there!
Sunday, May 6 is elections day! There's the French election of course. Francois Hollande is the overwhelming favorite to replace conservative Nicolas Sarkozy, potentially throwing a huge monkeywrench into Europe's plan to place every country into a fiscal straitjacket. Also there are Greek elections, and they're arguably more important than the French ones. If the two main parties fail to secure a majority in Parliament, watch out! There's also a chance we'll see an upsurge in support for the nationalists. And even that's not it. Italy has regional elections that go from May 6 to May 7, and that will prove to be a major test of Monti's ability to push reforms. Between the three countries, it's possible we'll see a major negative shift against the status quo.
Francois Hollande, who Weisenthal calls the "overwhelming favorite" to become France's next president, isn't just any candidate -- he's a socialist candidate. In fact, he's throwing around the idea of a 75 percent tax on the country's wealthy (he believes it's "patriotic"). Add that to an already-shaky European economy, and our previous report that "Sarkozy and Germany‘s Chancellor Angela Merkel have been the main architects of Europe’s efforts to avoid a collapse of the region’s shared currency," and this week could be one that the continent's fragile economy will soon want to forget.
But if that isn't enough cold water on your face, consider this: May 1 (Tuesday) is also the beginning of the Occupy movement's "May Day" general strike, which is encouraging the masses to walk out of school and work and refrain from banking and commerce. You can count on seeing several stories about its developments (and antagonistic tactics) throughout the week. Officials in Seattle already fear violence, while New York City is dealing with threats from Occupiers to shut down bridges and tunnels.
Rest up. We have a long week ahead.
We should also mention that May 2 is the one year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden. An Associated Press piece notes that while Al Qaeda is severely hampered, it still hopes to avenge the death of its leader, and U.S. citizens abroad have been warned about possible retaliation on Wednesday.