After nine generally buoyant months, the final quarter of 2012 kicks off this week. Not many companies stepping up to report their results this week, but anyone interested in agriculture will be looking forward to hearing from Mosaic and Monsanto.
On Monday, the stock market will take the day off to shake the confetti out of its hair. But on Tuesday, it'll be back to business as usual on Wall Street. Here are some of the items that will shape the first trading week of 2012.
The quarter winds down this week and reports due out include Apollo Group, Carmax and Krispy Kreme. But analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters have high hopes for results from fertilizer and animal feed maker Mosaic, apparel maker Phillips Van Heusen and discount retailer Family Dollar.
The new year's first week will be busy. Due out on Friday is December's umemployment rate, and the consensus is for it to drop to 9.7%. However, few expect real improvement until well into 2011. Also on tap: weekly and monthly chain-store sales, FOMC minutes, ISM services report and more.