Day Forward: Prime Three Issues to Watch

Investing.com – Here’s a preview of the top 3 things that could rock markets tomorrow.

1. Wages in Spotlight for Jobs Numbers

The unemployment report finally arrives tomorrow, with expectations for another solid month of job growth.

The Labor Department will release the February jobs numbers at 8:30 AM ET (13:30 GMT).

Economists forecast that the economy added 181,000 jobs last month, pushing the unemployment rate down slightly to 3.9%.

Barring a big beat or miss on payrolls, the market focus should be on wage growth, which is expected to have heated up in February. Wage inflation has been very slow to catch up with the tight U.S. stock market, giving the Federal Reserve a lot more leeway to be patient at present.

Average hourly earnings are expected to rise 0.3% for the month, bringing the year-over-year gain in earnings to 3.3%.

2. Housing Market Still Showing Cracks?

While the labor market consistently impresses, the housing market has been showing signs of fragility.

The January numbers on housing starts and building permits will arrive at 8:30 AM ET as well.

On average, economists expect that housing starts jumped 9.9% in January. But the forecast for building permits, an indicator of future demand, are forecast to have fallen 2.9%.

Last week the Economic Cycle Research Institute said its leading measure of home prices — which it says “nailed” the 2006 housing bust in real time — indicates “there is a real risk prices will actually fall.”

The graph of growth of the ECRI’s U.S. leading home price index indicated the worst home price outlook since 2009.

3. Costco Gets an Earnings Boost

The retail sector could get a boost when the opening bell rings tomorrow as Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST) rose on bullish results.

Costco rose about 5% in postmarket trading this afternoon.

The company reported a fiscal second-quarter profit of $2.01 per share on sales of $35.4 billion. Profit was well ahead of analysts estimates of $1.69 a share, while sales were about in line with the forecast of $35.6 billion.

Same-store sales growth of 5.4% for the quarter was a little shy of estimates, according to Briefing.com. The company said February same store sales climbed 3.5%.

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