How strong is the American economy right now? Some light will be shed on Tuesday, when the Census Bureau releases April's reading on durable goods orders.
"The durable goods report will be the first tangible indication if hopes for more robust economic growth in the second quarter are realistic," said Scott Nations, CIO of NationsShares. "Any month-over-month decline will be disappointing."
Because the durable goods report measures new orders for expensive manufactured products, it provides insight into how busy factories may become, thus making it a leading indicator for the economy. Excluding the noisier defense and aircraft orders, economists polled by Reuters are looking for a gain of 0.3 percent, well short of March's expectation-beating 2.2 percent gain.
Others are less optimistic.
"We expect durable goods to go down," said Robert Stein, deputy chief economist at First Trust Advisors and a master forecaster of durable goods. "Anytime you get a big surge like you did last March, you tend to see a little bit of retracement."
But Stein still sees the economy bouncing back after a particularly wintery winter.
"Our view is that it really was the harsh winter weather that held things down—nothing where you should take what happens in the first quarter and expand upon it to make a negative story," Stein told CNBC.com. "But we think the snapback is going to occur over a couple of quarters, not just over one quarter. I think we're basically due for 3 percent growth over the next couple of years."