Thursday's markets will be quiet, but there are a few important undercurrents investors are watching.
Energy and stock traders alike are tracking the approach of Tropical Storm Gustav as it pumps up energy prices ahead of its turn towards the Gulf of Mexico. There is also weekly jobless data, second quarter GDP and a few earnings of note. Toyota holds a briefing on its annual business plan overnight New York time, and Tiffany and Sears report before the bell. Dell reports after the close.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will probably stay in the spotlight. The two mortgage giants scored double digit gains during Wednesday's session as traders continued to debate the likelihood of a government bailout, amid speculation that perhaps equity investors will not be wiped out.
After the bell, Fannie Mae announced a management shakeup which included the departure of if its Chief Financial Officer Stephen Swad and Chief Risk Officer Enrico Dellavecchia. Swad was replaced by Fannie Controller David Hisey as part of a series of internal management moves. Fannie stock slid on that news.
Jobless claims are expected to come in at 425,000 when they are reported at 8:30. "It would help stocks if they're lower," said BMO Capital Global FX Market Strategist Andrew Busch. He said the second quarter GDP, also reported at 8:30 a.m. will probably be a non event. It is expected to show a gain of 2.7 percent.
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