Our latest weekly economic and EPS report schedule highlights housing data, with New and Existing Home Sales scheduled, along with the FHFA House Price Index and regular Mortgage Activity data. We'll also see new Durable Goods orders data along with Consumer Confidence and the final reporting of Q4 GDP this week. Several Fed-men are scheduled to speak as well. The EPS schedule highlights reports from Discover Financial, Adobe, Applied Materials, Goodyear, Best Buy and more.
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Weekly Economic and EPS Report Schedule
The Monday's market action will surely be attuned to the geopolitical radar, as U.N. military intervention against Libya's despot dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, began since the close of the last trading session. While the President will be paying close attention to North African events, he will be continuing his South American tour with a visit to Chile. Gaddafi's unpredictability should add some fear premium to the price of oil and general equity valuation, as the tyrant has already threatened all Mediterranean trade. We're sure he is capable of destroying his own oil assets too, ala the burning Iraqi oil fields of two decades ago.
Monday starts a slew of housing data due for the week. Existing Home Sales will be reported for the month of February. After rising more than expected to an annual pace of 5.36 million in January, the consensus of economists surveyed by Bloomberg see the rate dipping in February to 5.15 million.
The Chicago Fed will publish its National Activity Index for the month of February Monday. January's NAI fell to a mark of -0.16, from a higher standing of 0.18 in December of 2010.
The United Nation's atomic energy agency is holding a special meeting to brief its member nations on the situation in Japan. Markets will be closed in Japan on Monday, and also in Mexico.
The stock specific wire highlights changes to the Nasdaq Q-50 Index (Nasdaq: NDAQ), with the addition of Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR), Cypress Semiconductor (Nasdaq: CY), Foster Wheeler (Nasdaq: FWLT), Gentex (Nasdaq: GNTX), Hasbro (Nasdaq: HAS), JDS Uniphase (Nasdaq: JDSU), Polycom (Nasdaq: PLCM) and Tractor Supply (Nasdaq: TSCO). Also, the NYSE Euronext's (NYSE: NYX) futures exchange launches Eurodollar futures products.
The UBS Asset Gathering Conference highlights a presentation by MetLife (NYSE: MET, NYSE: UBS). Monday's EPS schedule highlights news from Bitstream (Nasdaq: BITS), Blonder Tongue Laboratories (AMEX: BDR), Crimson Exploration (Nasdaq: CXPO), CTI Industries (Nasdaq: CTIB), Feihe (NYSE: ADY), G. Willifood International (Nasdaq: WILC), Global Power Equipment (Nasdaq: GLPW), Hastings Entertainment (Nasdaq: HAST), Interleukin Genetics (Nasdaq: ILIU), Jaguar Mining (NYSE: JAG), Oxygen Biotherapeutics (Nasdaq: OXBT), PDI (Nasdaq: PDII) and Tiffany (NYSE: TIF).
We will receive the latest same-store sales data from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Redbook Tuesday morning as usual. Last week's same-store sales data, covering the period ending March 12, showed weekly sales growth at just 0.1%. However, the year-over-year pace of sales growth was measured at 3.1%. Redbook reported year-over-year sales growth at 2.0% for the same period. The ICSC data comes to the wire first in the early premarket, while Redbook's report is published just before 9:00 AM.
The second of the week's housing reports will be published Tuesday morning at 10:00 AM. FHFA's House Price Index for the month of January follows December data showing a 0.3% month-over-month price decline. On a year-to-year basis, FHFA said prices were down 3.3% in December. S&P Case Shiller data is due for release in a week's time. Price data is also found within the Existing and New Home Sales reports, published this week.
Look for FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair to address Independent Community Bankers Tuesday. Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher speaks to the subject of U.S. policy changes. Cleveland Fed Bank President Susan Pianalto gives a speech on the economy at the University of Akron Economic Summit.
The corporate wire highlights investor meetings at Discover Financial (NYSE: DFS), Goodyear Tire & Rubber (NYSE: GT), Flowers Foods (NYSE: FLO), Plum Creek Timber (NYSE: PCL) and United Natural Foods (Nasdaq: UNFI). The UBS Asset Gathering Conference (NYSE: UBS) highlights a presentation by AllianceBernstein (NYSE: AB). The corporate EPS wire highlights news from Adobe (Nasdaq: ADBE), BOS Better Online Solutions (Nasdaq: BOSC), Carnival (NYSE: CCL), Cintas (Nasdaq: CTAS), Commercial Metals (NYSE: CMC), Discover Financial (NYSE: DFS), Discovery Labs (Nasdaq: DSCO), Dollar General (NYSE: DG), Duoyuan Global Water (NYSE: DGW), Endeavour Silver (NYSE: EXK), Express (Nasdaq: EXPR), FSI International (Nasdaq: FSII), G-III Apparel (Nasdaq: GIII), Intelligent Systems (AMEX: INS), Interoil (NYSE: IOC), Jabil Circuit (NYSE: JBL), Jefferies (NYSE: JEF), LiveWorld (Nasdaq: LVWD), Neogen (Nasdaq: NEOG), Reeds (Nasdaq: REED), Schiff Nutrition (NYSE: WNI), Sonic (Nasdaq: SONC), Tongxin International (Nasdaq: TXIC), Tri-Valley (AMEX: TIV), Ur Energy (AMEX: URG) and Walgreen (NYSE: WAG).
Wednesday will be noted for its housing market reports, with the regular mortgage activity data followed by new home sales. Look for the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) regular Mortgage Activity Report in the early premarket Monday. With the global economy taking a hit, due to the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, mortgage rates have dropped significantly. Recent data covering the week ending March 11 showed average contracted rates on 15-year and 30-year mortgages fell to 4.03% (from 4.17%) and 4.79% (from 4.93%), respectively. The Market Composite Index of mortgage activity slipped 0.7%, as the Purchase Index fell 4.0%. Thanks to the decline in mortgage rates, the Refinance Index improved by 0.9%. Rates fell further since the report and so we should see continued gains in refinance activity, perhaps complemented by improvement in purchase activity.
At 10:00 AM, look for the New Home Sales data for the month of February. January's report showed the annual pace of sales fell to a rate of 284K. January was significantly impacted by snow storms and other weather across much of the country. Indeed, economists are looking for some improvement in February’s report, with Bloomberg's consensus of economists forecasting the rate will improve to 290K. The median price of a new home fell 1.9% in January, to $230,600.
The EIA issues its regular Petroleum Status Report at 10:30 AM Wednesday. Last week's report covering the period ending March 11 showed crude oil inventory increased by 1.7 million barrels while gasoline stores fell by 4.2 million barrels. Oil stocks remained above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year, while total motor gasoline inventory was in the upper limit of the average range. Gasoline stocks remain strained by the actions in Libya, a source of high quality crude used for gasoline refining.
At midday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke addresses a group of bankers. Lehman Brothers Holdings asks a NY bankruptcy court to approve the $90 million sale of its 20% stake in Quadrant Structured Products – to Magnetar. The FINforum Roundtable will include hedge fund manager Barton Biggs.
The corporate wire highlights investor and analysts meetings at Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS), Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX), Bayer (OTC: BAYRY.PK), ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT), Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE) and Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT). Boeing (NYSE: BA) presents at the JP Morgan Aviation, Transportation and Defense Conference (NYSE: JPM). The EPS schedule highlights news from General Mills (NYSE: GIS), China Kanghui (NYSE: KH), Cyclacel Pharma (Nasdaq: CYCC), Fortress International Group (Nasdaq: FIGI), HB Fuller (NYSE: FUL), icad (Nasdaq: ICAD), Marina Biotech (Nasdaq: MRNA), Omnova Solutions (NYSE: OMN), Paychex (Nasdaq: PAYX), PFSweb (Nasdaq: PFSW), Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), SAIC (NYSE: SAI), Steelcase (NYSE: SCS) and Trius Therapeutics (Nasdaq: TSRX).
This Thursday marquees the Durable Goods Orders report for the month of February. This is a volatile number, due to the high ticket price attached to many durables. Even when weeding out Transportation, the figure can often miss the economists' consensus by a significant degree. January's durables orders rose 2.7%. Economists are looking for February's durables orders to mark a 1.5% increase, yet the range runs from -0.5% to +4.5%, based on Bloomberg's survey. The report is due for release at 8:30 AM ET.
Each Thursday offers the Weekly Jobless Claims data, which have recently broached and held below the 400K threshold. Last week's report covering the period ended March 12 showed initial weekly jobless claims at 385K. Economists are looking for the March 19 period to mark around the same figure. Economists do not spend an awful lot of time trying to forecast a weekly change, and so this estimate often comes close to the just reported number.
EIA reports on Natural Gas Status at 10:30 each Thursday. The last data covering the period ended March 11 showed a net draw from storage of 56 Bcf. This left natural gas inventory 1 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 23 Bcf above the 5-year average of 1,595 Bcf.
The European Union will try to work out the details to its financial rescue facility through Friday. In the US, industry experts will present a report on how best to reform housing finance. The Strategas Macro Conference in New York will keynote fellow Greek-American Jim Chanos, noted short-specialist.
In the corporate wire, look for Gannett (NYSE: GCI) to hold its analysts meeting. Astellas Pharmaceuticals (OTC: ALPMY.PK) will hold a research and development call. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) presents at the JP Morgan Conference while Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) presents at the Barclays Capital conference. Look for EPS reports from Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), Accenture (NYSE: ACN), Astea (Nasdaq: ATEA), Birner Dental (Nasdaq: BDMS), Body Central (Nasdaq: BODY), Charming Shoppes (Nasdaq: CHRS), China Finance Online (Nasdaq: JRJC), China Sunergy (Nasdaq: CSUN), Conagra Foods (NYSE: CAG), Conmed Healthcare (Nasdaq: CONM), CTPartners Executive Search (AMEX: CTP), Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI), Finish Line (Nasdaq: FINL), FirstCity Financial (Nasdaq: FCFC), Freds (Nasdaq: FRED), Fuwei Films (Nasdaq: FFHL), Game Stop (NYSE: GME), Gravity (Nasdaq: GRVY), NTN Buzztime (AMEX: NTN), Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL), Primo Water (Nasdaq: PRMW), Saba Software (Nasdaq: SABA), Scholastic (Nasdaq: SCHL), Smart Modular (Nasdaq: SMOD), Synnex (NYSE: SNX), Syswin (Nasdaq: SYSW), Talbots (NYSE: TLB), Wet Seal (Nasdaq: WTSLA) and UTI Worldwide (Nasdaq: UTIW).
At 8:30 AM ET, look for the final revision of fourth quarter GDP. Economists expect the final tally will show 3.2% GDP growth (Barron’s shows 3.0%), versus the 2.8% growth at last revision. The initial reporting was 3.2%. The quarter-to-quarter change in the GDP Price Index is seen holding at 0.4%. Corporate Profits will also be reported for the fourth quarter.
At 10:00 AM ET, the University of Michigan in conjunction with Reuters, reports on Consumer Sentiment. Given Japan, the Middle East and rising prices, economists forecast a slight decrease in consumer confidence, to 68.0, down from 68.2% in mid-March. That mid-month reading was sharply down from the 77.5 mark seen at the end of February.
Three Federal Reserve leaders are set to speak on Friday. Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota speaks on "bubbles" and unemployment at 5 AM ET from a conference in Paris, France. At 9:15 AM, Atlanta Bank President Dennis Lockhart speaks on the economic outlook from Florida. At 12:15 PM, look for Philly Fed President Charles Plosser's speech on the framework for a long-run monetary policy before the Shadow Open Market Committee in New York.
Geopolitical junkies will be interested in the International Institute for Strategic Studies report on Iran’s nuclear, chemical and biological capabilities Friday. Sunday produces the deadline for the US Coast Guard and Mineral Management officials to determine the cause of the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Friday's corporate wire short list highlights Del Monte Foods (Frankfurt: DMF.F) and Georgia Gulf (NYSE: GGC) presentations at the Barclays Capital High Yield Bond and Syndicated Loan Conference. The earnings list includes reports from Ada Es (Nasdaq: ADES), Celsion (Nasdaq: CLSN), Ever-Glory International (AMEX: EVK), Nexxus Lighting (Nasdaq: NEXS), NF Energy Saving (Nasdaq: NFEC), and Tengion (Nasdaq: TNGN).
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