Investors will have several pieces of economic data to chew on in the usually-quiet final week in August.
Each number will be scrutinized even more so than usual this month, as investors look at every economic indicator as a predictor for whether the Federal Reserve will pull back on asset purchases next month -- a move many have dubbed "Septaper."
All eyes on the economy: Several key reports are due out during the week, including the second estimate of second-quarter gross domestic product. Investors will be watching this number closely, since it's considered the broadest measure of economic activity.
Late last month, the Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated that GDP rose at a 1.7% annual rate in April through June, slightly faster than the 1.1% rate in the first quarter. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com expect the second estimate to be even higher -- at 2.1%.
Consumers, housing: A number of other economic indicators are also on tap throughout the week. Just how Americans are feeling about the state of the economy will be in focus this week, with consumer confidence, personal income and spending and Michigan sentiment due out.
The housing market will also be in play. The Case-Shiller 20-city index and pending home sales are set to be released Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
Will he or won't he? Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke made clear at the press conference in June that the central bank could end its stimulus program as early as this fall, sending investors into a tizzy. Some economists think that the taper is coming next month.
The Federal Reserve has been buying about $85 billion a month in bonds and mortgage-backed securities in an effort to keep interest rates low and spur economic growth -- a program known as quantitative easing.
Markets ended mixed last week. The Nasdaq gained nearly 1.5% and the S&P 500 rose slightly, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell for the third straight week.