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US Economic Week Ahead: Cue Earnings

July 17th, 2009 Michael McDonough

After last week’s barrage of economic data, this week is relatively light. The few exceptions will be Monday’s leading indicator release, Thursday’s jobless claims and existing home sales data, and Friday’s consumer sentiment report. This week’s claims data will likely take on added importance as the market tries to decipher the impact early auto plant shutdowns may have had on the index’s seasonal adjustment factors, leading to better than expected claims data over the past couple weeks. Additionally, starting on Tuesday Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will deliver his semi-annual monetary policy testimony to House Financial Services Committee, which will almost certainly generate some headlines. But, earnings will again steal the spotlight this week with roughly 33% of the companies in the DJI and 25% of the S&P500 set to report. Some of the major names include Apple, Microsoft, Boeing, Caterpillar, UPS, Morgan Stanley, Yahoo, EBay, Amazon, Texas Instruments, and Advanced Micro Devices.

Monday July 20th:

10:00AM: Leading Indicators (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Maringal/Moderate): The leading indicators index is a composite index of ten economic indicators considered to be forward looking to economic activity, these include among others jobless claims, building permits, stock prices and the University of Michigan expectations survey. The index climbed in both May and April by 1.2% and 1.1%, respectively. The market is currently anticipating a 0.5% increment in June’s release.

Tuesday July 21st:

7:45AM: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Marginal): This weekly index tracks aggregate store sales across major US retailers, accounting for roughly 10% of total retail sales. Given recent data supporting an increasing US saving rates and a worsening employment situation, this index could face some downward pressure. Last week’s number indicated a 0.9% decline in store sales over the previous week.

8:30AM: Chicago Fed National Activity Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): The CFNAI is an index of 85 separate data sets designed to represent national economic activity and inflationary pressure. A reading of 0 indicates the economy is growing at the historical trend while a negative or positive result indicates the economy is growing below or above its historical average, respectively. Given the volatile nature of this index the three month moving average is typically quoted. This index remains somewhat obscure in the mainstream media and is likely to have a minimal impact on trading. I anticipate that we will see a marginal improvement from last month’s reading of -2.67 based on improving economic data,

10:00AM: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke delivers his semi-annual monetary policy testimony to House Financial Services Committee

Wednesday July 22nd:

7:00AM: MBA Purchase Applications (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This index, which tracks new mortgage applications tends to be a reasonable forward looking indicator for home sales, but issues including customers filling out numerous applications could skew the index. Last week the purchase index fell 9.4%; while the refinance index increased by 18.0% on the back of relatively low mortgage rates.

10:00AM: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke delivers his second day of semi-annual monetary policy testimony to House Financial Services Committee

10:30AM: EIA Petroleum Status Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report indicates domestic petroleum inventories, which could have a significant impact on the energy sector.

Thursday July 23rd:

8:30AM: Jobless Claims (Risk: Downside, Market Reaction: Significant): After two consecutive weeks of positive surprises, stemming from what was likely erroneous seasonal adjustment factors caused by early auto plant shut downs, we will likely see a correction. The current Bloomberg consensus stands at 560K compared to last week’s reading of 522K.

9:30AM: Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo testifies to the Senate Banking Committee, FDIC, and SEC on regulatory restructuring

10:00AM: Existing Home Sales (Risk: Downside, Market Reaction: Moderate/Significant): The Bloomberg consensus for existing home sales stands at 4.850 compared to last month’s reading of 4.770. It will be important to watch the inventory levels, which last month declined to 9.6 months from 10.1 months, the month prior. But, a recent article in the WSJ highlights the fact that a glitch in the California Association of Realtors computer system may have been inflating the number of homes sold in San Diego over the past several months, which means we will likely see some downward revisions.

10:00AM: EIA Natural Gas Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report highlights domestic natural gas inventories, which could have a significant impact on the energy sector.

4:30PM: Fed Balance Sheet & Money Supply (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): Since the Fed’s shift to quantitative easing, the balance sheet has become one method to measure to the Fed’s effectiveness. The market will pay close attention to the reserve bank credit component, which measures factors supplying providing reserves into the banking system. Last week the Fed’s balance sheet increased by US$34.2bn to move back above US$2 trillion.

Friday July 24th:

10:00AM: Consumer Sentiment (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Rising stock prices and receding energy prices should bode well for this index, but could be offset by continued weakness on the labor front. The current Bloomberg consensus for July’s final consumer sentiment index is 65.0 compared to mid-July’s reading of 64.6.

Enjoy the weekend!

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