NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- With the government's April jobs report easing some concerns about a sputtering recovery, the market in the coming week will try to gauge how the consumer is holding up. After weeks of lackluster economic data,
Friday's news that the economy added 244,000 jobs in April was a welcome development, triggering a relief rally that followed a string of selloffs earlier in the week. The market had been expecting gains of 185,000, according to Briefing.com. Although the unemployment rate climbed to 9% from 8.8% in April as previously frustrated job seekers sought to re-enter the workforce, private-sector job growth was the strongest it has been since early 2006. Jeff Kleintop, chief market economist at LPL Financial, expects a somewhat slow week as earnings season winds down, even though the market will get key consumer data with readings on April retail sales, April consumer prices and May consumer sentiment. > > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll "I think earnings will be ancient history at this point next week as people start to shift from individual companies' pictures to focus on the macro economy again," he said. "There will also be more of a focus on the consumer. Things might be getting a little bit better with oil prices lower and this strong April job growth number, but incomes are still really soft and we still have a long way to go to get the consumer back to being a meaningful participant of this economy." Looking ahead to the coming week's economic releases, Jay Suskind, vice president at Duncan-Williams, zeroed in on April producer and consumer prices. "It'll be very interesting to see how the market reacts to those inflationary-type macro numbers because it feels like the market is at an inflection point. Until today's strong jobs number, we've had some weaker economic numbers while getting these huge hikes in energy and commodity prices, which could mean that we're headed for a stagflation scenario," he said. "The Fed is in a bind because they obviously can't lower rates anymore, but the economy still looks too tepid to raise rates." "I think we're going to see sideways trading in May where people are just waiting to see how things shake out with the Fed and the economy," Suskind said. The market will get its first piece of economic data on Tuesday with April import and export prices from the Labor Department at 8:30 a.m. EDT. In March, import prices, excluding oil, climbed 0.6%, and export prices, excluding agriculture, jumped 1.3%.
At 10 a.m. EDT, the Commerce Department will release its wholesale inventories report for March, which will be compared to growth of 1% in February. Wednesday's economic news kicks off at 8:30 a.m. EDT with the March trade balance report from the Department of Commerce followed by monthly Treasury budget data from the U.S. Treasury Department for April at 2 p.m EDT. On Thursday, the market will get the Labor Department's weekly read on initial jobless claims for the first week of May. Market watchers will be hoping to see a decline in the number of people filing for unemployment benefits from last week's unexpected rise to 474,000 claims. Thursday's session will also bring important data on producer prices for April after they rose 0.7% in March. The core rate, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.3% in March. The Commerce Department will also release its April retail sales report and March business inventories data on Thursday morning. Friday will be a big day for consumer data with releases on prices and sentiment. The Labor Department is scheduled to release its consumer price index at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Investors will pay particularly close attention to the core rate, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, and is considered the best gauge of inflation. In March, core CPI inched 0.1% higher. At 9:55 a.m. EDT, the University of Michigan will issue its preliminary read on consumer sentiment in May. The consumer sentiment index came in at 69.8 in April, after a preliminary reading of 69.6. Earnings results will continue to trickle in next week. Meat producer Tyson Foods ( TSN) will report quarterly results on Monday followed by video and online gaming company Activision Blizzard ( ACTI) and auctioneer Sotheby's ( BID), which are scheduled to report after the closing bell. Walt Disney ( DIS) is scheduled to release results on Tuesday and Wednesday's session brings earnings from Macy's ( M) and Cisco Systems ( CSCO). On Thursday, retailers Kohl's ( KSS) and Nordstrom ( JWN) will report, as will visual computing technologies company Nvidia ( NVDA). --Written by Melinda Peer in New York.