Data released today (Friday) shows that Preliminary Consumer Sentiment for December dropped to 74.5% from the final reading of 82.7% for November, as shown on the graph below. December's final (Revised) data will be released in a couple of weeks. The Preliminary release tends to have the most impact.
Inasmuch as it's a "leading indicator of consumer spending, which accounts for a majority of overall economic activity," this may be forecasting a weakening of expected Christmas sales, and sales into 2013 (since consumers will have to begin paying for any Christmas gifts purchased on credit).
Furthermore, Preliminary Inflation Expectations for December rose to 3.3% from the final reading of 3.1% for November...the final (Revised) data will be released in a couple of weeks. Inasmuch as "expectations of future inflation can manifest into real inflation, primarily because workers tend to push for higher wages when they believe prices will rise," this would, no doubt, have an impact on corporate profits and, potentially, impinge on hiring intentions.
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UPCOMING (MAJOR) ECONOMIC EVENTS...
* Mon. Feb. 20 ~ U.S. Markets closed for Presidents' Day Holiday
* Wed. Feb. 22 @ 2:00 pm ET ~ FOMC Meeting Minutes
* Wed. Mar. 1 @ 2:00 pm ET ~ Beige Book Report
* Fri. Mar. 10 @ 8:30 am ET ~ Employment Data
* Tues. Mar. 14 ~ 2-day FOMC Meeting Begins
* Wed. Mar. 15 @ 2:00 pm ET ~ FOMC Announcement + FOMC Forecasts + @ 2:30 pm ET ~ Fed Chair Press Conference
* Wed. Mar. 15 @ 8:30 am ET ~ Retail Sales