Stock indexes drift a bit higher amid extremely thin trading volume as traders get a head start on the long holiday weekend.

Fed minutes

US Stock markets close at 12 noon CST on Friday, while bonds close at 1 pm CST. Low volume tends to bring higher volatility which could be on display today with the "minutes" from the Fed's November policy meeting due out, along with some key economic data.

Bulls hope the "minutes" will show evidence of a growing divide among Fed members about the current aggressive pace of tightening. That in turn will feed hopes that the central bank may not go as far as some on Wall Street have been anticipating.

Data to watch

Economic data today includes New Home Sales, Durable Goods Orders, flash PMIs, and Consumer Sentiment. The PMI reads are early results for November for both Manufacturing and Services with investors hoping to see more signs that wholesale prices are cooling.

Consumer Sentiment is also of interest with investors very nervous about inflation gloom keeping a lid on holiday spending. Consumer inflation expectations will also be of high interest after it bumped up in October.

The Federal Reserve believes that high inflation expectations can be a self-fulfilling prophecy so it closely tracks this component. Deere & Co. is today's earnings highlight. I recently banked profits on my Deere position.

Next week in detail

Looking to next week, investors are anxious to hear Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's speech on Wednesday, November 30 where he will discuss the US economic outlook and labor market. Powell will also take questions from the host and audience members.

As for economic data, the most important will be PCE Prices on Wednesday and the November Employment Report on Friday, both of which could influence the Fed's upcoming policy decision on December 13-14.

Other key data next week includes the FHGA Housing Price Index and Consumer Confidence on Tuesday; ADP's Employment Change, Pending Home Sales, the second estimate for Q3 GDP, and advance reads on International Trade, Retail Inventories, and Wholesale Inventories on Wednesday; and Construction Spending and ISM Manufacturing on Thursday.

Turning to earnings, a handful of key tech results are due, including CrowdStrike and Hewlett Packard on Tuesday; and Salesforce and Snowflake on Wednesday. On Thursday, Dollar General, Kroger, and Ulta Beauty report.

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