Economic data is back in focus after the Fed came out cooing like doves when markets expected a full-throated hawkish tone in the minutes of its last meeting.
The July minutes Wednesday afternoon showed a divided Fed, worried about inflation and split over the strength of the economy. That now makes December its best and probably only chance for a rate hike this year, strategists said.
It also points markets back to the economic data, and on Thursday there are weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT and the Philadelphia Fed survey on mid-Atlantic business activity. Leading indicators are reported at 10 a.m. Jobless claims have been a particularly strong series for the economy, which has also seen a pickup in hiring since an unusually soft employment report in May. But other data is less consistent recently, including consumption after unexpectedly flat July retail sales.