By Liz Moyer
Investing.com -- Stocks tried to rally but couldn't sustain gains on Thursday, closing lower amid a fresh bunch of economic data.
New jobless claims for last week were lower than expected, further evidence that the labor market continues to be tight. Retail sales were slightly better than expected, too. On Friday, the Michigan consumer sentiment reading for September is expected to show an improved outlook.
All of this comes as inflation for August proved to be slightly hotter than forecasts, something that could give the Federal Reserve reason to continue on its aggressive monetary tightening path. Fed watchers expect the central bank to raise its benchmark rate another 0.75 percentage point, as it did in June and July, but some even see the possibility of a full 100 basis point hike. Fed officials have said in recent weeks that it's important to get inflation down to its 2% target and they would do what they had to do to achieve that.
One bright spot in the news Thursday: The Biden administration struck a tentative agreement between railroads and union workers, averting a strike that could have crippled the transportation network that moves a third of U.S. freight around the country. Union members have to vote on it next.
Here are three things that could affect markets tomorrow:
1. Michigan sentiment
The Michigan consumer sentiment reading for September comes out Friday at 10:00 ET (14:00 GMT). The current expectation is 60, which would be up from 58.2 in the prior reading.
2. Detroit auto show
The Detroit auto show opens its doors to the public on Saturday but already press reports have previewed a slew of electric vehicles from the big automakers, including Stellantis NV (NYSE:STLA), Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM). President Joe Biden, visiting the opening of the show, announced a $900 million initial investment in EV charging stations, part of a nationwide rollout.
3. Movie weekend?
It's been a slow period for new movie releases, but Sony Group Corp's (NYSE:SONY) anticipated The Woman King debuts in theaters Friday, with estimated opening weekend box office sales coming in the mid-teens, according to BoxOfficeMojo.