Market Insider

Employment data is on the way, but will it matter?

On Wednesday, Wall Street just might get back to paying attention to U.S. economic reports. That's unless the situation in the Ukraine flares, or less-than-expected numbers are again disregarded as being a result of an exceptionally harsh winter in much of the country.

The ADP employment report for February is due at 8:15 a.m. ET and comes two days ahead of the government's nonfarm payrolls report.

The ADP report "gives a little hint—but not always a good hint—of what the jobs report might look like on Friday," said Jeffrey Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on the afternoon of March 4, 2014.
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The market is expecting the ADP number to come in at about 150,000, but given the weather, "130,000 wouldn't surprise anyone, but 200,000 would," he said.

"The market will probably have a quick, knee-jerk reaction, but it might not make any difference at all until we get numbers on Friday," said Randy Frederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab.

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The ADP report is also a wildcard in that it has in recent months been an inaccurate gauge of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Either the ADP number has to come down or the BLS has to come up," Frederick said.

"Weak data is explicable on account of the weather seems to be the mantra right now," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief market analyst at Interactive Brokers. "It's going to take a couple of bad reports and then some to disillusion investors at this point."

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"Going into the payrolls report we're setting higher highs, so the market is challenging a good number," he said. "If we get a good number, the market stays up, if it's a justifiably weak number, we hang out and wait. It would have to be sub-100,000 to give us a justifiable reason to sell."

—By CNBC's Kate Gibson