“If there’s a better read on the consumer, that will be a positive. That will certainly help,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.
But stocks could spend most of the next few days grinding sideways, especially after posting six straight weeks of gains. The major averages are within 3 percent of their 52-week highs.
“The U.S. consumer has been fairly strong. It’s been a strong area. I don’t think any data point is going to change people’s view on that,” said Ilya Feygin, managing director and senior strategist at WallachBeth Capital. He noted much of the strength in the consumer is already baked into the market.
“It’s good, but people see it’s good. (There’s) little room for upside here,” he said.
Wall Street will also eye more Fed speakers, with Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren Monday and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans Tuesday.
The bulk of central bank commentary is due Thursday, when Fed Chair Janet Yellen gives welcoming remarks at a Fed conference.
Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer, New York Fed President William Dudley, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker and Evans speak separately Thursday.
Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester speaks Friday.
“What has become clear to me is a lot of the committee members can express their own views but that doesn’t express what the Fed does. I think the ones to focus on are Yellen, Fischer and Dudley,” said David Lefkowitz, senior equity strategist at UBS Wealth Management Americas.
After a solid October employment data Friday, Wall Street is increasingly convinced the Fed will raise rates in December. While some analysts cautioned the figures could be overly optimistic, they said only a significant downturn in the next month’s economic reports would dampen those expectations.
“I think you’re going to have to see some really weak data for them to get off this view of getting off December,” said Patrick Maldari, senior fixed-income investment specialist on the North American Fixed Income team at Aberdeen Asset Management.
A stronger dollar index is a “headwind for growth and the Fed but not enough to overwhelm,” he said.
Treasury yields rose, the U.S. dollar index climbed to its highest level since April, and gold posted its worst week for the year after Friday’s jobs report soundly beat expectations with the addition of 271,000 nonfarm payrolls. Unemployment ticked down to 5 percent.
Analysts cheered a 9-cent gain in average hourly earnings, an annualized increase of 2.5 percent.
Focus for much of Wall Street is now on the pace of rate hikes, rather than the initial move.
UBS’s Lefkowitz expects the Fed to hike rates in December, and four times next year, once every other meeting.
Stocks closed mixed Friday despite the upbeat data, with the Dow Jones industrial average rising about 47 points to 17,910, up 1.4 percent for the week. The S&P 500 closed less than 1 point lower at 2,099, up 0.95 percent for the week.
The Nasdaq composite outperformed with a 19-point gain to 5,147 Friday, for a weekly gain of 1.85 percent. Traders will continue to watch tech stocks, after the Nasdaq 100 hit a record and Facebook topped $ 300 billion in market cap in the last week.
Analysts will also eye overseas reports for potential market movers.
“It’s the Fed in the U.S., retail sales and global GDP reports and data in China,” said John Canally, investment strategist and economist at LPL Financial.
“The market’s keenly focused to see if China stabilizes here and the Fed’s (watching) as well,” he said.
Third-quarter euro zone GDP is due next Friday, according to Eurostat.
China is expected to release several economic reports, including trade data over the weekend and CPI and retail sales later in the week, according to Yahoo Finance. The local version of Black Friday, known as Single’s Day, falls on Wednesday and is a key driver for sales at e-commerce sites, particularly Alibaba.
“Trade (data) is going to be weak out of China,” said Timothy Hopper, chief economist at TIAA-CREF. But he said the statistic “is becoming less important” as China transitions towards increased consumption of their own products.
In a week with few definite catalysts, commodities could be a factor for equities as traders continue to feel for a bottom.
“I think the last thing is there’s just some volatility being driven by bounces in energy prices as people are not sure which direction energy and commodity prices are moving,” said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones. “It’s a combination of geopolitical and inventory and production levels. We continue to see the world producing more than it’s using.”
Strength in the U.S. dollar weighed on WTI, which lost nearly 5 percent for the week to its lowest close since Oct. 27.
However, energy gained 2.4 percent as the second-best performing S&P 500 sector for the week. Other commodity-sensitive sectors also tried to recover their losses for the year so far, with industrials rising 1.14 percent for the week and materials closing flat.