March 17, 2008 at 05:25 AM EDT
The Greek's Week Ahead - Holy Week!
The Greek's Week Ahead is the most comprehensive "week ahead" market-moving event planner in existence. The week ahead will offer a shortened trading period due to Western Christianity’s celebration of Good Friday. Speaking of good Fridays, we have had a few doozies over the past several periods. Two weeks ago, the Employment Situation Report sent markets for a spin, and then last week Bear Stearns needed rescue when it could not find counter-parties willing to deal with it. Thank Benjamin, JP Morgan Chase and the New York Federal Reserve played savior and kept Bear liquid, and solvent for that matter. Unlike Eliot Spitzer, the market was having a relatively decent week until the Bear Stearns emergency. For the week, the Dow closed higher 0.5%, the S&P 500 moved lower 0.4% and the Nasdaq was unchanged. Four-week moving average mutual funds flows continued to show improvement for equity funds, with net inflows averaging $835 million. Still, money funds drew in $18.5 billion in comparison, but this continued a decreasing trend in the level of cash inflow to the sector. Overseas, every major European market closed lower for the week, except Belgium and also Spain on the heels of its election. Finland dropped the most, down 4.0%. The broad DJ STOXX Index fell 1.2%. In Asia, all major markets fell, with the Indonesian market leading the losers as it collapsed 10.6%. India moved 1.2% lower, Japan 4.35% and Hong Kong 3.5%. Gold closed the week just under $1,000 per troy ounce, at $999.50. Light sweet crude closed up $5, to $110.21 per barrel. Natural gas finished higher, to $9.87 per mmbtu. The dollar closed weaker to 1.5665 euros. Before the Bear Stearns blowup... last Friday morning’s Consumer Price Index for February seemed just the right fuel for a strong finish to the week when it offered data showing no change in prices. However, as it turns out, the period recorded completely excluded the recent price rise of oil and distillates, like for instance gasoline! Everyone who drives or has seen a newspaper headline over the past month knows that gasoline has marked record territory recently. So, it appears next month’s CPI will not be so pleasant. As usual, the Fed’s action to keep Bear alive spurred much debate. It smells of a bailout, and that always draws the ire of free market capitalists. There’s a moral hazard to rescuing one company that fails due to its own excessive risk taking. There’s a concern this might encourage haphazard risk management at other firms, since there’s an understanding that the Fed is there for rescue if necessary. However, The Greek disagrees with the moral hazard argument, since we view the alternative unacceptable. If not for this and recent Fed action, we expect the American economy would be well on its way now to depression, not just recession, and that stock prices would be much lower. The Week Ahead This week offers important barometers of manufacturing sector condition and a timely meeting of the Federal Reserve. Monday A new governor takes over in New York and an important area manufacturing barometer will be measured on Monday. The day's Empire State Manufacturing Survey and Industrial Production reports, and the Philadelphia Fed Survey on Thursday, threaten to show manufacturing activity deteriorated. In their last reporting, New York and Philly area manufacturing dropped off sharply. Bloomberg's consensus is looking for a March Empire State General Business Conditions Index level of -6.3. Economists are looking for a February decrease in industrial production of 0.1%, and capacity utilization of 81.3%, which compares to 81.5% in January. Monday’s Treasury International Capital Report will measure foreign demand for long-term U.S. securities in January. December’s data showed a decrease in foreign investment demand from the month just prior. Tuesday’s State Street Investor Confidence Index will show how Americans feel about the same topic. We expect neither group is very optimistic. The Current Account for Q4 is due early Monday morning, while the Housing Market Index for March is set for 1:00 PM release. Monday's most noteworthy earnings reports include Bear Stearns ( NYSE: BSC ), Conseco ( NYSE: CNO ), 4Kids Entertainment ( NYSE: KDE ), AES Corp. ( NYSE: AES ), Acusphere ( Nasdaq: ACUS ), Bruker Biosciences ( Nasdaq: BRKR ), Cosi ( Nasdaq: COSI ), Excel Maritime Carriers ( NYSE: EXM ), GeoMet ( Nasdaq: GMET ), Goldleaf Financial ( Nasdaq: GFSI ), Houston Wire & Cable ( Nasdaq: HWCC ), Neurogen ( Nasdaq: NRGN ), Ocean Power Tech ( Nasdaq: OPTT ), Perry Ellis ( Nasdaq: PERY ), Repros Therapeutics ( Nasdaq: RPRX ), Shuffle Master ( Nasdaq: SHFL ), Syntroleum ( Nasdaq: SYNM ), The PMI Group ( NYSE: PMI ), US BioEnergy ( Nasdaq: USBE ), Vicor ( Nasdaq: VICR ) and WCI Communities ( NYSE: WCI ). Tuesday Le Rogue Trader, Jerome Kerviel might be set free by a Parisian Court on Tuesday. Speaking of criminals, some consider recent Federal Reserve action as highway robbery of dollar value. Heading into last Friday, the treasury market had been forecasting that the Federal Open Market Committee would decide on a 50 basis point rate cut (half of a percentage point) this week. However, in the mayhem of Friday morning, rate cut expectations rose to as high as 100 basis points. More than a handful of economists would rather the Fed not cut rates this time around, considering the further damage it could do to the dollar. There’s well-founded concern that in mitigating recession, the Fed might also spur future inflation that could do even more and longer-lasting economic damage. However, we agree that the Fed has to face the challenge at hand first, before looking beyond to a potential problem. The Fed is hopeful prices will naturally find suppression due to decreased domestic demand for goods and services. Globalization, however, threatens to keep the overall supply/demand equation tight, and thus prices high. We expect the FOMC will cut rates by 50 basis points on Tuesday. The ICSC-UBS Weekly Same-Store Sales results last week surprised on the short side of recent trend. Sales rose only 1.6% last week, year-to-year, while retail sales were reported down 0.6% in February. We estimated that overall sales trends contrasted with same-store sales growth because of mounting store closures and slowing new store openings. Last week's CPI data proved benign, but February's PPI data is due out on Tuesday morning. Bloomberg's survey shows expectations for headline price increase of 0.4% and a Core PPI rise of 0.2%. February Housing Starts are seen measuring 990K, compared to 1.012 million reported in January. The aforementioned State Street Investor Confidence Index is due at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday's earnings reports include Adobe Systems ( Nasdaq: ADBE ), Darden Restaurants ( NYSE: DRI ), EnergySolutions ( NYSE: ES ), Gamestop ( NYSE: GME ), GenTek ( Nasdaq: GETI ), Goldman Sachs ( NYSE: GS ), Healthways ( Nasdaq: HWAY ), Lehman Brothers ( NYSE: LEH ), Radyne Corp. ( Nasdaq: RADN ), Somanetics ( Nasdaq: SMTS ), Tsakos Energy Navigation ( NYSE: TNP ) and more. Wednesday Wednesday brings the regular pre-market Mortgage Bankers' Association reporting of weekly mortgage activity. The Fed's action from early last week was partly intended to bring mortgage rates down. We'll see... At 10:30, the EIA's Petroleum Status Report gets yet another opportunity to pound common sense into oil prices, but does supply/demand matter when the valuing currency is losing its worth by the minute. Wednesday earnings reports include China Mobile ( NYSE: CHL ), General Mills ( NYSE: GIS ), Morgan Stanley ( NYSE: MS ), Nike ( NYSE: NKE ), Avalon Pharmaceuticals ( Nasdaq: AVRX ), Borders Group ( NYSE: BGP ), Charming Shoppes ( Nasdaq: CHRS ), Cintas ( Nasdaq: CTAS ), CLARCOR ( NYSE: CLC ), Discover Financial ( NYSE: DFS ), Emisphere Technologies ( Nasdaq: EMIS ), Guess ( NYSE: GES ), Herman Miller ( Nasdaq: MLHR ), Lindsay Corp. ( NYSE: LNN ), North American Palladium ( AMEX: PAL ), Petroleum Development ( Nasdaq: PETD ), Pinnacle Gas ( Nasdaq: PINN ), Ross Stores ( Nasdaq: ROST ), The Marcus Corp. ( NYSE: MCS ), Ulta Salon, Cosmetics and Fragrance ( Nasdaq: ULTA ) and more. Thursday Welcome to the witching hour, quadruple witching that is. Weekly Initial Jobless Claims are expected to measure 360K, after sticking at 353K last week. Leading Economic Indicators for February is set for Thursday reporting, and will give some further indication of how likely economic contraction is for the first quarter. Bloomberg's consensus is looking for a 0.3% decrease for February. The Philly Fed Survey, which scared the cheesesteak out of the market last month, is widely expected to sit in negative territory again this time around at -20.0. The EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 should again offer bearish data. Thursday's earnings include Carnival Corp. ( NYSE: CCL ), FedEx ( NYSE: FDX ), New York & Co. ( NYSE: NWY ), CRA Int'l ( Nasdaq: CRAI ), CryoCor ( Nasdaq: CRYO ), dELiA's( Nasdaq: DLIA ), Genpact ( NYSE: G ), Global Options ( Nasdaq: GLOI ), Hellenic Telecommunications ( NYSE: OTE ), Luby's ( NYSE: LUB ), Palm ( Nasdaq: PALM ), Progress Software ( Nasdaq: PRGS ), Shoe Carnival ( Nasdaq: SCVL ), The Children's Place ( Nasdaq: PLCE ), Winnebago ( NYSE: WGO ), WorldSpace ( Nasdaq: WRSP ), Worthington Industries ( NYSE: WOR ) and more. Because of the holiday on Friday , U.S. equity and bond markets will be closed. Markets in Hong Kong, Singapore and the U.K. will also be closed. You can support "The Greek" by supporting our advertisers. Thank you. ( disclosure )
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