Markets spent most of the day in a slumber yesterday, but just before the closing bell a small rally lifted equity indexes to just above par. This morning, investors are holding the market flat, as GDP revisions are expected to show a downward revision in the second quarter, and jobless claims are expected to remain above the 550k level.

Performance in the equities market has been tepid this week, in contrast to economic data that Deutsche Bank analysts call “notably upbeat.”

Meanwhile, global stocks have had mixed sessions. In Asia, the Nikkei fell 1.6% and China’s Shanghai index shed 0.71%; in Europe, stocks have drifted back and forth, with the German DAX currently trading lower and London’s FTSE 100 climbing marginally.

Looking at the big picture, Sherry Cooper, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, said a V-shaped recovery ― an idea discarded by many ― could still be in the works.

“Yes, the U.S. consumer remains morose/moribund — aside from the clunkers spurt —but that’s not stopping the rest of the world from springing back to life, it seems,” she wrote in a client note. “Industrial production across Asia has been on a tear from the lows reached around the start of the year. For instance, industrial production in Taiwan has surged almost 35% since January.” 

Key Releases Today:

8:30 ― The consensus from economists looks for second-quarter GDP to be revised lower in the preliminary estimates, as inventories appear to have been slashed at a quicker rate than originally thought. The -1.0% cutback in gross domestic product is now thought to be -1.6%. That may not be bad news, as forward-looking markets will be pleased that the worst is behind us, setting the economy up for a quicker rebound.

“The revision should reflect an even deeper inventory correction than previous estimates (across manufacturing, wholesale and retail sectors),” said analysts at Herrmann Forecasting. “Net exports are expected to improve, along with capital goods spending.  Consumer spending is expected to be unchanged. That said, the deeper the correction in 2Q-09, the stronger the bounce in 3Q-2009.”

8:30 ― Jobless Claims have been a major disappointment lately. With markets optimistic on signs the economy is turning the corner, new claims for unemployment benefits have been a reminder of how troubling the economy remains. In the week ending August 15, 576,000 Americans filed for new claims, putting the total number of recipients at 6.241 million. Economists believe the weekly figure will be trimmed to 565k this week, but even if that’s the case it is little consolation, as any figure above 360k is consistent with payrolls cutbacks.

5:00 ― James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Fed, speaks to the University of Arkansas MBA program in Little Rock.

Treasury Auctions:

1:00 ― 7-Year Note auction ($28 billion)