Week Ahead: A Focus on Manufacturing, Monetary Policy and Inflation

After the stock market took a brutal, post-election battering, all eyes next week will be on equities as investors try to figure out what’s next for Wall Street. The week will also be a busy one for market participants, with plenty of manufacturing, monetary policy and inflationary data coming out.

Sunday is Veterans Day. Banks and the federal government are closed Monday, but the stock and bond markets are both open.

Tuesday, the National Federation of Independent Business comes out with its monthly index measuring small-business sentiment for the prior month. On Wednesday, the Commerce Department posts retail sales numbers for October, and reports for the two previous months have shown gains -- the most since October 2010.  Also on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve releases minutes from its last policy-setting meeting, which is significant because it gives investors details on what was discussed.

Thursday will be a busy day with weekly jobless claims and the consumer price index being unveiled. The Philadelphia and New York Federal Reserve banks release their monthly manufacturing surveys, which will help Wall Street gauge whether the regional economies are expanding or contracting. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak on “The Housing and Mortgage Markets” in the afternoon at a financial summit in Atlanta.

The week ends with the Fed releasing industrial production numbers for October, which gauges production output. In September the index rose 0.4 % after having fallen 1.4% in August.