The past few weeks have seen plenty of causes for concern among equity investors, as the ongoing sovereign debt crisis in Europe and fears of a slowdown in China weighed on the markets. Despite these lingering issues, U.S. equity markets have managed to broadly move higher thanks to strong retail data, and bullish earnings reports from a variety of important market bellwethers. This focus on key data has led to somewhat of a "Santa Claus" rally on Wall Street as of late; however, a key piece of data scheduled to be released later today could either sink the markets or turn into a early Christmas present for investors.
Later today, investors will focus in on the key durable goods report for the month of November, a figure that shows how much businesses are spending and if they are taking part in the modest recovery. After a sharp 3.4% drop in October's reading, investors have low expectations for the report, with analysts showing a consensus of a 0.5% decline in the index for the most recent month. However, given the increase in consumer spending, many analysts are looking for businesses to keep pace in order to demonstrate that this recovery has some steam left heading into 2011. "Everything else is clicking, we wouldn't want to see business spending roll over," said JPMorgan Chase economist Mike Feroli. Should businesses fail to match expectations and show another month of declining orders for durable goods, it could break the recent winning streak for the markets and send the markets tumbling [see Who Else Wants ex-Sector ETFs?].
Due to this crucial report, which is one of the last major data releases before markets take a break for Christmas, the Industrial Sector SPDR
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