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Week Ahead: What to Watch in December Jobs Data

Jeremy Glaser

For Morningstar, I'm Jeremy Glaser. Welcome to The Week Ahead, our quick take on what investors should have on their radar screens for the week starting Jan. 4.

There is a fair amount of data on tap to start off 2016.

The marquee report will be Friday's jobs data. We'll be looking to see if the strong jobs numbers we've seen in recent months continue into December. Wage data will also be eyed, and we'll see if a tighter labor market is forcing employers to boost pay.

The ISM index, which gives a snapshot of the strength of the manufacturing economy, is due on Monday. This series fell into contractionary territory last month, as low energy prices and a strong dollar continue to weigh.

Auto sales have been very strong in recent months, and we'll see if that trend continued in December on Tuesday.

It will be quiet week on the earnings front. Two that we will be watching include Monsanto on Wednesday and Walgreens on Thursday.

Monsanto has been facing near-term headwinds from a strong dollar and elevated costs, and we'll be looking for signs that these challenges are diminishing.

Walgreens has had a series of mixed to poor results recently, as it continues to grapple with management turnover and broader pricing issues impacting retail pharmacies. It seems unlikely that these problems will dissipate by this quarter, as the firm's strategy to gain more scale through actions like buying Rite Aid will take time to develop.

Stay tuned to Morningstar for our take on all of these stories throughout the week.