April's jobs report is the big event in the week ahead, but it may be influences from abroad that first drive stocks, bonds and the dollar.
Economists expect to see 220,000 nonfarm payrolls and a 5.4 percent unemployment rate, after shockingly weak March job growth. That Friday report is being eyed by financial markets for what clues it might give about a spring rebound, and Fed policy. Strategists say that if jobs data is as expected, it may not impact markets much, but a stronger number could send the dollar sailing and bond yields higher.
"We're looking for a bounce back after that disappointing report," said Luke Tilley, chief economist at Wilmington Trust. March's 126,000 nonfarm payrolls came in well below the past year's average of 269,000, and economists blamed it on the temporary factors of weather and the port strike that also flattened first-quarter economic growth. "We expect 235,000 on net added for the month. We're accustomed to seeing the ups and downs over the course of the recovery, and really we've seen some encouraging data in other numbers."