"The Greek" earned clients a 23% average annual return over five years as a stock analyst on Wall Street. While writing for Wall Street Greek and others, he presciently predicted the financial crisis and housing and banking failures of the Great Recession. Visit the front pages of Wall Street Greek now to see our current coverage of business news, global financial markets, real estate, shipping, fine art, technical analysis and global affairs.
Look for the reintroduction of our "Week Ahead" copy, however, it will be produced in a more concise manner, providing mostly factual information. Our daily pre-market articles will now offer the expanded analysis of important economic data points you normally find in "Week Ahead". This is for the sake of efficiency, as the "Week Ahead" copy, as produced here, is a major endeavor requiring the entire weekend. The reason for this is due to our great research efforts that coincide with the writing of the article. Breaking up the work, by distributing it through our daily articles will help us to better function.
The Personal Income & Outlays Report for February is due at 8:30 AM. Economists see Consumer Spending rising 0.3% over January's level, according to Bloomberg's survey. In January, Spending rose 0.5%, but got some lift from volatile gasoline prices. Personal Income is seen rising by 0.1%, after a similar gain in January. The PCE Price Index looks to show prices rose 0.1% in February, versus no change in January.
The G-8 foreign ministers are set to meet in Canada, with Iran atop the agenda. Meanwhile, in China, a verdict is due on the Rio Tinto (NYSE: RTP) bribery trial. A week after Portugal was downgraded, fellow PIIGS nation, Spain, reports Retail Sales for February. Japan will report its unemployment rate and labor market trends for February. In January, Japan's unemployment stood at 4.9%.
Monday's confirmed earnings report schedule includes: Apollo Group (Nasdaq: APOL), CalMaine Foods (Nasdaq: CALM), China Valves Technology (NYSE: CWT), Digital Angel (Nasdaq: DIGA), Enterra Energy Trust (NYSE: ENT), Generac Holdings (Nasdaq: GNRC), Genta (Nasdaq: GETA), Intertape Polymer (OTC: ITPOF), Kid Brands (NYSE: KID), Neogen (Nasdaq: NEOG), SORL Auto Parts (Nasdaq: SORL), Xfone (AMEX: XFN), China Petroleum (NYSE: SNP), SouthCrest Financial (Nasdaq: SCSG), Tefron (OTC: TFRLF), BioFuel Energy (Nasdaq: BIOF), ChinaCast Education (Nasdaq: CAST), Cosi (Nasdaq: COSI), Cytomedix (AMEX: GTF), Oxford Industries (NYSE: OXM), China Medicine (Nasdaq: CHME), LGL Group (AMEX: LGL), Talon International (Nasdaq: TALN) and Universal Power (AMEX: UPG).
Look for the S&P Case Shiller Home Price Index on Tuesday morning before the open, and you'll likely catch Professor Shiller on Bloomberg Radio as always. However, we again note that this data is old, and so should not be relied solely upon for forecasting. S&P will be releasing data for January, and we begin April on Thursday. We are absolutely certain the delay is due to the in depth due diligence and superb research of the Professor's team (read into what I left out).
December's data showed fourth quarter prices fell 2.5% against the prior year period, based on the S&P Case Shiller US National Home Price Index. Prices have mostly stabilized, as evidenced by the decreasing rate of deceleration over the last four quarters: Q3 2009 -8.7%; Q2 2009 -14.7%; Q1 2009 -19%. December's prices, based on the 20-city composite, fell 3.1% annually.
The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) reports on weekly same-store sales every Tuesday morning in the pre-market. Last week's data covering the period ended March 20, showed sales gained 3.7% over the prior year period (+3.2% in March 13 week). On a week-to-week basis, sales gained 0.1%, versus the -0.4% change the week before. Expect to see stronger gains this week and next due to the earlier fall of Easter this year versus last (by one week).
The Conference Board reports on Consumer Confidence at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday. Confidence dropped through the floor in February, with the index collapsing to 46, from 56.5 in January. The worst thing about the decline was that it was for once reflected in the Expectations Index as well as the Present Situation Index. Stubborn unemployment and housing finally led Americans to second guess economic recovery. Economists are looking for the Index to improve back up to 50 in this March reading.
State Street's (NYSE: STT) Investor Confidence Index also slipped in February, but not due to North American sentiment. The Index eased to 103.9, from 104.6 in January, but the North American component gained 3.3 points through the month. We would have expected Greece trouble to stricken European sentiment, but that was not the case in February; we expect it will be the case in March though. Last month, it was Asia that drove the global sentiment figure to sour.
Farm Prices are due from the Department of Agriculture at 3:00 PM, but Barron's lists the data due on Wednesday (so check). The Bank of Portugal will post its economic forecast, something we expect the rating agencies will be paying close attention to (so should you). French President Nicolas Sarkozy visits with Barrack Obama. Paul Volcker will be addressing "financial reform" in a Washington gathering.
Wednesday morning brings the first of the monthly employment reports. ADP will produce its Private Employment Report at 8:15 a.m. February's data showed a 20K decline in private non-farm payrolls. The decline was the least significant since February of 2008, however January's data was revised down by 38K to -60K.
The Mortgage Bankers Association reports on weekly mortgage activity each Wednesday morning in the pre-market. Last week's report showed the Market Composite Index of Mortgage Activity decreased 4.2% in the period ending March 19. The Refinance Index slipped 7.1%, as contracted 30-year and 15-year fixed rate mortgage rates rose to 5.01% (from 4.91%) and 4.33% (from 4.24%), respectively. The Purchase Index, though, improved by 2.7%. As real estate firms seek to drive business with promotion of the April deadline for tax incentive, activity should pick up.
The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index is due for reporting at 9:45 AM. February's mark was improved from January, and at 62.6 offered the fifth straight month of readings above 60. New order strength in February leads economists for foresee yet another month above 60, with the consensus forecasting a mark of 61.0 for March.
Factory Orders are due for the month of February at 10:00 a.m. Factory Orders are expected to grow for the reported month of February, given a same-month increase in Durable Goods Orders; also higher energy prices are expected to drive nondurable growth. Economists see a 0.4% increase on average, comparing against the 1.7% gain posted in January.
The EIA Petroleum Status Report is due at its usual 10:30 reporting time. US commercial crude oil inventories increased by 7.3 million barrels in the week ending March 19. Gasoline inventory decreased by 2.7 million barrels. The strengthening dollar has acted to cheapen commodity prices, but after the EU words of support for Greece last week, a wall may lie ahead for the dollar.
Besides all this, Israel has been acting shady, with Netanyahu visiting President Obama quietly and also seeing Medvedev recently. We may be on the brink of war; and trust that the day before war on Iran breaks loose will be much different than what occurred in Iraq. There will be no public notice; no deadline will be issued Iran with US troops poised on the border. No, it will be swift; it will be strong; and it will be secret.
The Federal Reserve stops its purchases of mortgage-backed securities today. Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart will discuss the economic outlook at a meeting in Hartford, Connecticut. The Department of Agriculture issues its Prospective Plantings survey, with corn acreage expected to increase.
The close of the Holy Week for Christians the world over leads few public companies to report results over the next two days. However, another special driver may play a role on Thursday. April Fool's Day acts like a superstitious repellant to public companies. Not many firms choose to report their results this day, and who could blame them. It just makes it all too easy for bloggers to make fools of them. We will still give it a go though!
The first of the month brings the domestic Motor Vehicle Sales data, reported by the individual automakers throughout the day. February's data showed a slip in sales on bad weather. Economists see March's aggregate annual pace of domestic sales running at 9.0 million, versus the 7.6 million rate seen in January.
The Monster Employment Index, produced by Monster World Wide (NYSE: MWW), is due for report in the pre-market. Monster's MEI showed strength in February, reaching 124, versus 114 in January. So, while the snow may have affected hiring, it did not impede online recruitment activity. Online job demand improved in all 28 major metro markets measured.
Challenger, Gray & Christmas' Job-Cuts Report showed the lowest level of announced corporate layoffs since 2006 in February. Declared dumpings numbered just 42,090, versus 71,482 in January and 186,350 in February of 2009. There is no consensus figure for this data point.
Weekly Initial Jobless Claims are due for the period ended March 27 at 8:30 a.m. After last week's measure at 442K new filings, economists forecast 440K for the current period. The four-week moving average shows a renewed trend of decreasing claims filings after a recent lull.
At 10:00 a.m., ISM will make its latest reporting of its Manufacturing Index. February's reporting brought the PMI down to 56.5%, from 58.4% in January. February's weaker growth was seen in New Orders, Production, Exports and Prices. Still, remember that a reading above 50 signifies economic expansion. Economists are looking for a reading of 56.1% for March.
Construction Spending eased 0.6% in January, and economists see another dip of 1.1% for February. Given horrible weather and other data that agrees, this should be of no surprise.
Natural Gas Inventory data is due at 10:30 a.m. Last week's data showed a net increase of 11 Bcf in the period ended March 19. Stocks were 121 Bcf above the five-year average for this time of year. As we have now turned the seasonal usage period corner, inventory should continue to build (especially given intensified natural gas drilling).
The Bank of Japan releases its tankan survey of business enterprises. Many overseas markets begin closing Thursday for the Easter holiday, including markets in Argentina, Mexico and Venezuela.
The stock market is closed for Good Friday, but the bond market is open until about noon. Banks and the US government are open for business, and the feds will report on the state of labor. The Employment Situation Report is due for March in the pre-market. Economists see the unemployment rate steady at 9.7% and nonfarm payrolls gaining by 200K jobs. The national census effort and related hiring are having a positive effect here, but many believe corporations must now compensate for overdoing layoffs over the last year.
There are no corporate earnings reports of note scheduled for Good Friday. However, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) starts selling its iPad tablet on Saturday.
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