BUSINESS

Latest round of jobs data likely to dominate stock market focus this week

09/30/2012 06:00 EDT | Updated 11/30/2012 05:12 EST
TORONTO - Traders have shown that even during challenging economic times there's still a little room for optimism, but their sentiment will be tested again this week with the latest jobs numbers in both the U.S. and Canada.

The status of jobs market in both Canada and the U.S. in September will be the main focus of the week, even though the data isn't due until Friday. It'll provide the latest picture of where the economy is headed.

"Particularly with the U.S. data, it has been mixed all year," said Sadiq Adatia, chief investment officer at Sun Life Global Investments.

"We want to continue to see some economic news that tells us things are improving and not necessarily slowing down."

In the U.S., consensus expectations are for 111,000 jobs added for the month, driven in part by more hires in manufacturing and construction. Economists expect the unemployment rate to rise 0.1 per cent to 8.2 per cent.

"Job growth through the balance of 2012 is likely to remain lacklustre, and we do not anticipate the September report to be an exception to that," said a research report by RBC Capital Markets.

The Canadian economy could also deliver another month of surprisingly strong growth, if job hires continue to outdo the overall economy like they have in recent months. The consensus call is for an addition of 15,000 jobs and the unemployment rate is expected to remain steady at 7.3 per cent.

"Monthly job creation has averaged 27,000 over the past half-year, hardly indicative of an economy under pressure from risks to growth globally or waning domestic demand," wrote CIBC World Markets economist Emanuella Enenajor in a note.

"But a reckoning may be around the corner, with hiring set to track a slower tempo in the months ahead."

Those signs of a slowdown could become a greater concern for the Canadian economy, which has been under close watch by economists worried about a slowdown.

The commodities-heavy Toronto Stock Exchange has been impacted by a decline in crude oil prices, which has resulted in a gain of a mere three per cent since the start of the year, while the Dow Jones Industrials have added a far more impressive 10 per cent increase.

"You're going to see points in time when things look good and things won't look as strong," Adatia said.

"I think that's what we're going to have to get used to over the next year or so."

Also this week, a comprehensive revision of Canada's economic history dating back more than 30 years could provide a clearer picture of the country's performance in recent months, particularly by industry.

The process has been in the works for about four years, and comes as part of Canada's effort to fall in line with the international standards of economic measurements that were revised in 2008.

Canada's dollar has been on the rise, up 3.4 per cent in the third quarter ended last Friday, and isn't likely to slow down any time soon.

"The combination of steady growth, Canada's strong sovereign position and a hawkish Bank of Canada tone amid widespread and ongoing accommodation from the world’s largest central banks should drive further gains," said Scotiabank chief currency strategist Camilla Sutton.

Also on the calendar for next week are Canadian industrial prices on Monday and building permits on Friday.

In the U.S., ISM manufacturing data will be released Monday and August factory orders on Thursday.