Canadian inflation numbers for May, released on Wednesday, provided a good reason for why the Bank of Canada might want to consider raising its key interest rate before the end of the year. On Thursday, though, investors and economists will see if the economy can take tighter monetary policy, with the release of gross domestic product numbers for April.
Expectations are low: A consensus of economists is forecasting a contraction of 0.1 per cent, after a 0.3 per cent GDP gain in March. The year-over-year rate is expected to retreat to 2.7 per cent from 2.8 per cent in the previous month - stronger than U.S. growth in the first quarter, but hardly the sort of expansion that demands the attention of central bankers.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Labor Department will report its weekly report on initial jobless claims, where recent sluggishness has helped push back expectations for rate increases by the Federal Reserve. Claims are expected to fall slightly, to 420,000 from 429,000 in the previous week. If expectations are matched, it would be good news. But it would also mark the eleventh consecutive week with claims above the 400,000 threshold - which is ugly.
In earnings news, three companies within the S&P 500 are expected to report: Apollo Group Inc., Darden Restaurants Inc. and McCormack & Co. Inc. The unofficial second quarter earnings season begins on July 11, when Alcoa Inc. reports its results.