NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Earnings news, the monthly employment report, and commodity prices top the list of what investors will have their eyes on in the week ahead.
The big economic release will be the monthly employment report, due out on Friday. Monthly job gains of over 200,000 are expected, continuing the recent trend, while 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. Motors vehicle sales will also be released and are expected to total 17.2 million units. On Wednesday, we'll see the the ISM manufacturing survey; the new Purchasing Managers' Index reading is forecast to come in at 56, a nice bump from June's level of 53.5.
And with earnings season in full swing, traders will remain focused on corporate reports as hundreds reveal their quarterly scorecards. Among them are four Action Alerts PLUS portfolio companies: Tyson Foods (TSN) - Get Report , Halyard Health (HYH) , Marathon Oil (MRO) - Get Report and EOG Resources (EOG) - Get Report. Dow component Disney (DIS) - Get Report will also release results after the closing bell on Tuesday.
Energy has been a weak spot so far this earnings season, with companies like ExxonMobil (XOM) - Get Report and Chevron (CVX) - Get Report reporting lower results due to weakness in commodity prices. Michael Khouw, Portfolio Manager of Action Alerts OPTIONS said he will be watching oil, and that down seems to be the only direction commodity prices can go for now. He recommends that investors hedge their exposure to the energy sector by using put spreads on the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) - Get Report. Commodity prices overall had one of their biggest monthly drops in years in July.