While August sales were tepid, Orlando said he was willing to "write that off" because of events such as the "chilling effect" of the "debt ceiling fiasco," the S&P downgrade of U.S. debt, and Hurricane Irene on the East Coast.
"We need to see good retail sales numbers in hope that Christmas season will be good. At this point, we don't know," he said.
4. Corporate America earnings and layoff rumors
Just as quickly as summer came and went, so has the calendar year's third quarter. October ushers in third-quarter corporate earnings reports, which may show more chill than sunshine. Even the biggest players in the financial market are expected to show some troubling earnings, if not negative outlooks.
On Oct. 18, at least two companies will report earnings. Bank of America, which announced 30,000 layoffs on Sept. 12, may reveal whether the company has felt any backlash after announcing a $5 monthly debit card fee for purchases starting next year. Goldman Sachs, could allegedly have one of its worst quarters since it went public 12 years ago, and could announce layoffs, said the New York Times.
October is open enrollment month for many major employer health care plans. Consumers need to brace themselves for higher premiums. Last week, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that the typical annual premium for family coverage rose 9 percent this year. This will mean higher co-pays and premium increases for millions of employees. The total annual premium for employers and workers rose to $15,073 for family coverage and $5,429 for singles, Kaiser said.
The first Monday of October is also when the U.S. Supreme Court gathers for the start of the 2011 to 2012 year. And while President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act isn't on the docket yet, some political and legal analysts say the justices are likely to tackle the healthcare debate this year.
Orlando said regardless of whether the Supreme Court takes on the law, which was signed in March 2010, he says healthcare is likely to continue its trajectory of increasing premiums.
"Healthcare is like college education," Orlando said. "It goes only one way, and that's up."
Orlando said tort reform, lowering malpractice fees, more doctor training, or allowing health insurance sales across markets could begin to lower costs.
"Basic supply and demand could bring prices down, but the government hasn't implemented any of those things since they signed into law 1.5 years ago," he said.