Don't let the short week fool you. There's big news ahead for the American economy.
With Independence Day falling on July Fourth this year, which happens to be a Friday, the June employment report will be released one day earlier than normal. And market participants (at least the ones who haven't already headed to the Hamptons) will be watching with great interest, because a supremely weak revised first quarter GDP number leaves open some tricky questions about the state of the U.S. economy.
"This is a huge deal this week in light of the fact that we got such awful GDP numbers last week," said trader Jim Iuorio of TJM Institutional Services. "People have got to get some clarity from these numbers."
On Wednesday, the third estimate for GDP growth in the first quarter was revised down to a 2.9 percent decline, significantly worse than the prior estimate of a 1 percent decline. And while the weather and other somewhat random factors have been shouldered with the blame, the print is still seen as raising the stakes on Thursday.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%"Even though the Q1 GDP figure is old news, the financial markets will need to see continued strength in the current quarter to become confident that last quarter's results were truly an aberration," wrote Deutsche Bank (DB) chief U.S. economist Joseph LaVorgna in a recent note. "In this regard, the June employment report ... takes on added significance."
To be sure, LaVorgna is indeed expecting the payrolls report to confirm that Q1 GDP ought to be more or less ignored. He predicts a 225,000 increase in non-farm payrolls, which is above the consensus.
"The Street is looking for stability here," said Michael Block, the chief strategist at Rhino Trading Partners, a New York-based broker-dealer and research provider. "The Street consensus looks very similar to what we saw in May. Expectations are very grounded. No one's really looking for anything to rock the boat here."
If the numbers miss on the downside, however, the ramifications could be serious, warns Chicago-based trader Jeff Kilburg.
"I think you need to be careful this week," he said. "This unnatural calm cannot last forever."
The 7 Best Things to Buy in July
Why Investors Are Anxious About This Week's Job Report
It's time to hit the thrift stores, consignment shops and furniture outlets. Now that most people have done their spring cleaning and renovating, their used furniture is on the market. That means a hefty supply, plus low prices since stores only have so much space. You can also find discounted new furniture in July, because the next year's models arrive in stores in early August. Don't be afraid to try to negotiate on prices. It often works.
Electronics -- computers and tablets specifically -- see decreases in price starting in early July. These prices continue to drop as the school year gets closer, and best way to stay on top of the hottest deals is to sign up for e-newsletters from retailers. Remember to take advantage of company and educational discounts that may be available to you, and to negotiate for free or discounted accessories.
Bottled water goes on sale throughout July as a lure to get you into stores. it also gets purchased more frequently throughout the summer -- the natural result of barbecue and picnic season, when people entertain and spend more time outdoors. So if you drink bottled water year-round, stock up now.
If you can manage, hold off purchasing your new grill until after the Fourth of July, when mark-downs approach 50 percent off. This applies to grilling accessories, too, including grill baskets and utensils. Also, check consignment shops and thrift stores. Many people buy new grills for the Fourth of July and donate or sell their old ones.
Speaking of grilling, among the hottest buys during July are condiments for burgers and hot dogs: mustard, ketchup, relish, sour cream, sauerkraut, mayonnaise and pickles, etc. Buy in bulk, and pair in-store specials with coupons for super-low prices on these summer must-haves.
If you're in the market for a sweet new pair of jeans, July is the best time to buy them. Few people buy jeans during one of the hottest months of the year, so retailers put them on sale to move them. Stores also get new jeans in the late summer in anticipation of fall shopping season, so they're eager to sell old ones to make room for new duds.
Formal suits are also seldom purchased during the middle of summer. Consequently, many suit retailers will hold sales to keep business moving. If you have an upcoming formal wedding to attend -- or if you simply need new suits for work and special occasions -- July is the best time to buy.