Wall Street Greek

Editor's Picks | Energy | Market Outlook | Gold | Real Estate | Stocks | Politics
Wall Street, Greek

The Wall Street Greek blog is the sexy & syndicated financial securities markets publication of former Senior Equity Analyst Markos N. Kaminis. Our stock market blog reaches reputable publishers & private networks and is an unbiased, independent Wall Street research resource on the economy, stocks, gold & currency, energy & oil, real estate and more. Wall Street & Greece should be as honest, dependable and passionate as The Greek.



Wall Street, business & other videos updated regularly...

Seeking Alpha

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Existing Home Sales Sank in January 2010

existing home sales January 2010
The stock market got that sinking feeling on Friday after the Existing Home Sales Report release.

Visit the front page of Wall Street Greek to see our current coverage of Wall Street, economic reports and global financial markets.

(Relative Tickers: NYSE: BAC, NYSE: FRE, NYSE: FNM, NYSE: GS, NYSE: MS, NYSE: WFC, NYSE: TD, NYSE: SRS, NYSE: URE, NYSE: IGR, NYSE: XIN, Nasdaq: RYHRX, Nasdaq: TRREX, NYSE: TOL, NYSE: HOV, NYSE: DHI, NYSE: BZH, NYSE: LEN, NYSE: KBH, NYSE: PHM, NYSE: NVR, NYSE: GFA, NYSE: MDC, NYSE: RYL, NYSE: MTH, NYSE: BHS, NYSE: SPF, NYSE: MHO, AMEX: OHB, NYSE: VNQ, Nasdaq: AVTR, Nasdaq: BARE, OTC: BAYRY.PK, NYSE: BYD, Nasdaq: BRFS, NYSE: DRQ, NYSE: FSS, NYSE: FRO, Nasdaq: GLNG, Nasdaq: HANS, OTC: LLDTF.PK, Nasdaq: MGLN, NYSE: MSA, NYSE: PBR, Nasdaq: SNDA, OTC: TCMFF.PK, NYSE: TEF, NYSE: IPG, Nasdaq: UTSI, NYSE: DIA, NYSE: SPY, Nasdaq: QQQQ, NYSE: DOG, NYSE: SDS, NYSE: QLD)

Existing Home Sales



home sales Wall StreetExisting Home Sales for the month of January walloped the market on Friday, though thanks to a thorough beat-down the day before by the weekly jobless claims report, stocks hung in. The Dow Jones Industrials Average closed up fractionally on the day and ended the week down only about 1%.

Existing Home Sales Wallop

Existing Home Sales wowed the market when reported Friday, but not in a good way. Sales of used properties ran at an annual pace of 5.05 million in January, down 7.2% from a revised 5.44 million pace in December. Helping to illustrate the significance of what is going on in real estate, we note that December's pace was also down sharply from November's rate of 6.49 million.

November marked the sales peak for the last twelve months, but unfortunately, it may have also struck an inflection point. I'm stressing "may" because I'm near certain that the First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit drew a significant number of first-time homebuyers to enter into contract last summer through fall. Those sales closed in September, October and especially November. The unfortunate counter-effect to a non-recurring incentive, or to any incentive until it has exhausted its potential, is that those "pulled forward" sales end up absent in the months just after the conclusion of the special stimulus. Thus, I believe that a housing sales chart absent of stimulus effects would simply offer a smoother, though slower, rate of sales growth recovery than the current choppy mess. That said, the Chief Economist of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) smartly noted that the incentive serves as a critical crutch against the handicap of heavy distressed inventory flooding the market.

There's another, though less important, soothing factor impacting Friday's housing report. The weather started getting frightful in the important Northeast region in late December, and stayed that way through February. Still, these "existing home dealings" mark the closing of sales, whereas "Pending Home Sales" would better reflect weather related impact now, as people are not getting out to sign into contracts and to see homes. The NAR, however, noted that traffic was actually up, but the NAR is of course biased.

I suppose that weather might drive extensions of closing dates (you tell me), as that would seem to be a viable reason for such activity. I think it's more likely that weather impacts Northeast regional Existing Home Sales in March and April, when properties that would be entered into contract now might close. Anyway, the non-seasonally adjusted chart of existing home sales clearly shows a seasonal affect that is of course well-understood by market participants. That effect has the market reaching the trough of its annual cycle now. So, there is a spring fling to look forward to, especially given the latest tax incentive.

Another reason to be hopeful is the fact that the year-over-year sales pace improvement was 11.5%, but remember that we are talking about year-over-dreadful-year in this case. The comparable results are drastically easy to beat, given the troughs reached in the economic catastrophe we have traversed.

Still, prices continue to ease, but this is also symptomatic of market weakness. Yet, the price easing allows for market normalization. Foreclosures continue to purge, though a shadowy foreclosure overhang may still lurk to keep recovery reined in.

What's really working against real estate recovery is ongoing joblessness and under-employment. Thursday's killer news was that Weekly Initial Jobless Claims jumped back up to 496K. For as long as near 20% of the workforce is less than optimally employed, and 9.7% completely unemployed (plus the forgotten), then the economy is simply not going to recover in a robust fashion. The naysayers would remind us that hiring will occur as economic demand resumes, but we wonder if the depth of job losses and the length of lost income to households will act as a serious drag to recovery. It becomes both a lagging indicator and a leading one in such an instance, in my view.

Be careful not to get too excited by Friday's revision of fourth quarter GDP, to +5.9%, from 5.7%. Much of the gain came from decelerating inventory destocking. While I agree another quarter of inventory driven growth may be in store, I'm also looking for a dip back into contraction thereafter. Still, Moody's (NYSE: MCO) is likely right that the harsh winter should impact Q1 GDP, so we might see a return to weakness sooner rather than later. This is a trend consistent for periods just out of recession, and considering the depth of the latest dip, it seems even more likely this time around. This is especially the case thanks to the big labor market hole we need to dig ourselves out of.

Friday's earnings reports included 012 Smile.Communications (Nasdaq: SMLC), Bare Escentuals (Nasdaq: BARE), Bayer (OTC: BAYRY.PK), Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD), Brasil Foods (Nasdaq: BRFS), Compton Petroleum (NYSE: CMZ), Cubic (NYSE: CUB), CVR Energy (NYSE: CVI), Dril-Quip (NYSE: DRQ), Federal Signal (NYSE: FSS), Fibria Celulose (NYSE: FBR), Frontline (NYSE: FRO), GMX Resources (Nasdaq: GMXR), Golar LNG (Nasdaq: GLNG), Grupo Radio Centro (NYSE: RC), Hansen Natural (Nasdaq: HANS), Integrys Energy (NYSE: TEG), Ion Geophysical (NYSE: IO), Isis Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ISIS), KAR Auction Services (NYSE: KAR), Lloyds Banking Group (OTC: LLDTF.PK), Magal Security Systems (Nasdaq: MAGS), Magellan Health Services (Nasdaq: MGLN), Mine Safety Appliances (NYSE: MSA), Mirant (NYSE: MIR), Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE: NWN), Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), PHH Corp. (NYSE: PHH), Seahawk Drilling (Nasdaq: HAWK), Shanda Interactive (Nasdaq: SNDA), Southwest Gas (NYSE: SWX), Stereotaxis (Nasdaq: STXS), Susser Holdings (Nasdaq: SUSS), Telecom Argentina (OTC: TCMFF.PK), Telefonica (NYSE: TEF), The Interpublic Group of Cos. (NYSE: IPG), UTStarcom (Nasdaq: UTSI), Wesco Financial (AMEX: WSC) and Willbros (NYSE: WG). Article should also interest investors in Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM), Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE), J.P. Morgan (NYSE: JPM), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), Toronto Dominion Bank (NYSE: TD), PNC Financial (NYSE: PNC) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC).

forum message board chat rooms stocks business
Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

Easter candles baskets lambades

Labels:

free email financial newsletter Bookmark and Share

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Health Care Summit

health care summit
Drawing Health Care Demons into the Light

Visit the front page of Wall Street Greek to see our current coverage of the health care truth, Wall Street, economic reports, global financial markets and foreign affairs.

(Relative Tickers: See below and also OTC: AZSEY.PK, Nasdaq: ANSS, NYSE: WTR, NYSE: AWI, OTC: BASFY.PK, NYSE: CM, NYSE: CEC, NYSE: CTL, NYSE: CGV, NYSE: CDE, Nasdaq: COGT, Paris: ACA.PA, NYSE: DT, NYSE: EME, NYSE: ICA, NYSE: FLR, Nasdaq: FWLT, NYSE: FTE, NYSE: FTO, NYSE: GPS, Nasdaq: GERN, NYSE: GXP, NYSE: HNZ, NYSE: KDN, NYSE: KSS, Nasdaq: LAMR, Nasdaq: LINTA, Nasdaq: LAVA, NYSE: PCS, NYSE: MHK, Nasdaq: MCRI, Toronto: NA.TO, NYSE: NEM, Nasdaq: NVTL, Nasdaq: OVTI, NYSE: PKD, NYSE: REP, NYSE: REV, NYSE: RST, NYSE: SNS, NYSE: TI, London: RBS.L, NYSE: TRW, NYSE: VG, NYSE: DIA, NYSE: SPY, Nasdaq: QQQQ, NYSE: DOG, NYSE: SDS, NYSE: QLD)

Health Care Summit



health care GreekPresident Obama smartly brings health care demons into the light on Thursday, cleverly drawing his opponents into a public and interactive forum where blank statements and blatant lies can hold no water. Kudos to the Administration for smart political play! And the Republicans are game, since the very core of the insurance companies' public relations people is effectively tempted by this opportunity. Take note though that the PR firms representing the insurance companies will be preparing their most loyal Congressmen carefully. In the end, I think the Republican party ends up a poorer pawn, since I see no hiding place for argument engineered lies in the light.

The televised health care summit will air on C-SPAN3 (good luck with that) and probably show off and on at Fox, CNBC etc. (all the usual suspects) from 10 AM to 4 PM ET. Catch all the highlights via video at Wall Street Greek; we hope to have lengthy video, and we hear the commercials could be a real treat as well. Health Care Summit Party anyone?

The shadow-play some Republicans have stooped to with regard to health care is simply appalling to me, especially since I share many of the same views as the party on other issues. This nonsense they are spewing out about tax dollars being prepared to pay for abortions and euthanasia has been engineered to scare the far right into line. Otherwise, how could big-insurance hand-holding be overlooked? I'm sorry to say that too many of my old party's representatives seem to be using lies to avoid being held accountable for trying to kill the most important human rights effort since Martin Luther King led African Americans to their country's promised equality.

We cannot let evil interests, who happen to have more money, garner a victory on health care! You let me know what I can do to rally people for the sake of Obama's healthcare effort, and I'll do it.

Every time I take a political side though, I feel it important to destroy non-critical criticism that would call me "just another liberal media punk," which I am far from. As I have said countless times before, I was a lifelong Republican who voted against a Greek/American for my party's man, Bush the senior; that's how loyal I was to capitalism and to the Republican creed. Now, I'm an Independent, and I see things from an open perspective, creating a mosaic of views taken from the open market of ideas. What's wrong with independent thinking anyway? Fortunately, there's still room for us too in this democracy.

We must do what is right, and that is taking health care out of the hands of profit-prioritizing insurance companies. We should not demonize them though right? After all, they are only doing their job, representing their shareholders' interests. That's what they'll tell their families over Thanksgiving dinner anyway. Meanwhile, some bright day they will have to face their conscience and the truth. Health care is a basic human right, not a business; but our system functions to provide a perversion of that basic right.

If you work a regular job and never get cancer, or rather, don't get cancer before you switch insurance providers and are therefore not denied coverage due to "pre-existing condition" bull, then of course you will never believe the system is flawed. Lose your life's savings and fall into insurmountable debt in order to take care of your sick wife when your insurance company drags you through the mud on some typographical or clerical screw up, and you will be lighting fires for the sake of this cause. Similarly, bear a simple toothache for a year as it manifests into a cavity, and then mutates into root damage before metamorphosis into jaw bone decay, and you might take the other side of the argument. (He sighs as his tongue finds his tooth).

I DEMAND MY GOVERNMENT PASS THIS LAW WITHOUT PERVERSION AND WITHOUT DELAY. It is what is right! It is needed! It is demanded by the poor and simple people who built this country and keep it running today. If you need to see us massed in the streets to believe in our conviction and our numbers, then so be it. We demand our representatives represent our interests, not those of insurance companies. And we demand the truth be spoken to us, rather than the relaying of the whispers of demons.

Thursday's Economic Data

Initial Jobless Claims

We are still unemployed! A good 16-20% of us are deeply under-employed, depending on whom you ask. What's 20% of 152 million (the labor force size)? That's about how many Americans, minus a few insured part-timers, that could be on the National Mall today letting our elected representatives know how we feel about our right to health-care.

Hefty weekly initial unemployment benefits claims have resumed, after a holiday season spell of good cheer and less firings. Last week's report for the period ended February 13 showed new benefits filers amounted to 473K, up 31K from the week before. Does that sound like economic recovery to you? A jobless recovery is not sustainable. The President is rightly focused on job creation and energy innovation, a.k.a. the revival of American industry. Economists forecast that this week's claims figure will measure a relatively light 460K.

Durable Goods Orders

At 8:30, look for the Durable Goods Report for the month of January. Durable Goods Orders have increased in eight of the last nine months, and they rose 1.0% in December. Orders fell 0.4% in November, after revisions. Excluding transportation, orders improved by 1.2% in December.

Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft improved by 2.2% in December. This measure is taken as the best barometer of business investment, and is therefore a powerfully positive signal. So what's this crazy Greek talking about then? The economy is apparently recovering. Recovering, or restocking, I ask you?

Economists forecast January's orders could gain 1.5%. That's a big number, and it's supported by manufacturing data out of the Midwest and New York, though Philly Fed data showed softness in activity.

FHFA Housing Price Index

This sad cousin of the equally late S&P Case Shiller Home Price Index will report on the month of December. November's data (way back when) showed a 0.7% increase on a month-to-month basis, and a 0.5% year-over-year gain. Case Shiller offered a mixed report earlier this week, with seasonally adjusted prices falling. However, we noted that while seasonal adjustments are helpful, they are not likely accounting well for this year's heavy snowfall across the country. Weather affects demand, and demand affects price. There is no forecast for this data point, so you are on your own. We can, however, tell you that the market is likely unconcerned about December as we enter March.

EIA Natural Gas Report

The EIA will report on natural gas inventory at 10:30 as always. Last week's report covering the period ending February 12 showed an inventory withdrawal of 191 Bcf. Natural gas stocks stood 53 Bcf above the five-year average for this time of year.

Fed Speak

Day 2 of the Fed Chairman's semiannual report to Congress will have Chairman Bernanke addressing the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs at 9:00 AM. When he addressed the House panel on Wednesday, Chairman Bernanke reassured the confused bunch that his discount window changes of last week did not signal any near-term fed funds rate hawkishness. At 8:30, look for Cleveland Fed Bank President Pianalto's speech to a Dayton area group. St. Louis Fed President Bullard is scheduled to make a luncheon address.

Peace Brother

Peace talks between India and Pakistan are scheduled, as we (the US) seem to be arming the entire subcontinent... which oh by the way, is already a hot-bed of adequate-enough-to-wipe-out-one-other weaponry and nationalist passion. I have grown more hopeful however since the change in government in Pakistan, for as long as it holds anyway.

Earnings Reports

Thursday's earnings include reports from 3D Systems (Nasdaq: TDSC), ACI Worldwide (Nasdaq: ACIW), Acme United (AMEX: ACU), Aegon N.V. (OTC: AEGOF.PK), Agree Realty (NYSE: ADC), Allianz SE (OTC: AZSEY.PK), ANSYS (Nasdaq: ANSS), Aqua America (NYSE: WTR), Armstrong World Industries (NYSE: AWI), AXA Property Trust (LSE: APT.L), BASF (OTC: BASFY.PK), BE Semiconductor (OTC: BESIY.PK), Breakwater Resources (Toronto: BWR.TO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (NYSE: CM), CEC Entertainment (NYSE: CEC), CenturyTel (NYSE: CTL), CGGVeritas (NYSE: CGV), City Developments Ltd. (OTC: CDEVY.PK), Cleco Corp. (NYSE: CNL), Coeur d'Alene Mines (NYSE: CDE), Cogent (Nasdaq: COGT), Continental Resources (NYSE: CLR), Credit Agricole (Paris: ACA.PA), Cristalerias de Chile S.A. (NYSE: CGW), CTC Media (Nasdaq: CTCM), Deutsche Telekom (NYSE: DT), Dexia (Brussels: DEXB.BR), Digital Realty Trust (NYSE: DLR), EMC Insurance (Nasdaq: EMCI), EMCOR Group (NYSE: EME), Empresas ICA S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE: ICA), EnergySolutions (NYSE: ES), Enerplus Resources (NYSE: ERF), ENSCO Int'l (NYSE: ESV), eResearch Technology (Nasdaq: ERES), Erie Indemnity (Nasdaq: ERIE), Eurand N.V. (Nasdaq: EURX), First Potomac Realty Trust (NYSE: FPO), Flamel Technologies (Nasdaq: FLML), Fluor (NYSE: FLR), Foster Wheeler (Nasdaq: FWLT), France Telecom (NYSE: FTE), Frontier Oil (NYSE: FTO), Gap (NYSE: GPS), Genesis Lease (NYSE: GLS), Gerdau Ameristeel (NYSE: GNA), Gerdau S.A. (NYSE: GGB), Geron (Nasdaq: GERN), Golfsmith Int'l (Nasdaq: GOLF), Great Plains Energy (NYSE: GXP), Great Wolf Resorts (Nasdaq: WOLF), H.J. Heinz (NYSE: HNZ), ICON Plc (Nasdaq: ICLR), Impax Laboratories (Nasdaq: IPXL), Kaydon (NYSE: KDN), KBR, Inc. (NYSE: KBR), Kohl's (NYSE: KSS), Lamar Advertising (Nasdaq: LAMR), Liberty Media (Nasdaq: LINTA), LKQ Corp. (Nasdaq: LKQX), LTX-Credence (Nasdaq: LTXC), Magma Design Automation (Nasdaq: LAVA), Magyar Telekom (NYSE: MTA), MetroPCS Communications (NYSE: PCS), Mohawk Industries (NYSE: MHK), Monarch Casino & Resort (Nasdaq: MCRI), National Bank of Canada (Toronto: NA.TO), Natixis (OTC: NTXFF.PK), Newlead Holdings (Nasdaq: NEWL), Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM), NII Holdings (Nasdaq: NIHD), NorthStar Realty Finance (NYSE: NRF), Novatel Wireless (Nasdaq: NVTL), Numerex (Nasdaq: NMRX), NxStage Medical (Nasdaq: NXTM), Olympic Steel (Nasdaq: ZEUS), OM Group (NYSE: OMG), Omnivision (Nasdaq: OVTI), Online Resources (Nasdaq: ORCC), Parker Drilling (NYSE: PKD), Pennsylvania REIT (NYSE: PEI), Plains E&P (NYSE: PXP), PS Business Parks (NYSE: PSB), Reliv Int'l (Nasdaq: RELV), Repsol YPF (NYSE: REP), Revlon (NYSE: REV), Rosetta Stone (NYSE: RST), Safeway (NYSE: SWY), SAFRAN (Paris: SAF.PA), Saint Gobain (NYSE: SGO), SandRidge Energy (NYSE: SD), SBA Communications (Nasdaq: SBAC), SJW Corp. (NYSE: SJW), Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (NYSE: SQM), Sourcefire (Nasdaq: FIRE), Southwestern Energy (NYSE: SWN), SPX Corp. (NYSE: SPW), Steak n' Shake (NYSE: SNS), Strategic Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: BEE), SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWRA), Telecom Italia (NYSE: TI), The Navigators Group (Nasdaq: NAVG), Royal Bank of Scotland (London: RBS.L), Tim Horton's (Toronto: THI.TO), Tollgrade Communications (Nasdaq: TLGD), TRW Automotive (NYSE: TRW), U-Store-It Trust (NYSE: YSI), VanceInfo Technologies (NYSE: VIT), Volcom (Nasdaq: VLCM), Vonage (NYSE: VG), W&T Offshore (NYSE: WTI) and Westar Energy (NYSE: WR).

health care forum message board chat rooms
Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

geopolitical world news global affairs

free email financial newsletter Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Short Sale Real Estate

short sale real estate house housing home
Short Sale Lemonade

A housing short-sale provides a win-win opportunity for both lender and borrower, and offers the parties involved in distressed property dealings to make real estate lemons into lemonade.

Visit the front page of Wall Street Greek to see our current coverage of the real estate market, Wall Street, economic reports, global financial markets and foreign affairs.

(Relative Tickers: NYSE: BAC, NYSE: FRE, NYSE: FNM, NYSE: GS, NYSE: MS, NYSE: WFC, NYSE: TD, NYSE: SRS, NYSE: URE, NYSE: IGR, NYSE: XIN, Nasdaq: RYHRX, Nasdaq: TRREX, NYSE: TOL, NYSE: HOV, NYSE: DHI, NYSE: BZH, NYSE: LEN, NYSE: KBH, NYSE: PHM, NYSE: NVR, NYSE: GFA, NYSE: MDC, NYSE: RYL, NYSE: MTH, NYSE: BHS, NYSE: SPF, NYSE: MHO, AMEX: OHB, NYSE: VNQ, Nasdaq: AVTR, NYSE: DIA, NYSE: SPY, Nasdaq: QQQQ, NYSE: DOG, NYSE: SDS, NYSE: QLD)

Short Sale Real Estate



real estate market short saleThe reality of the Real Estate Bubble of 2005 through 2007 places most homeowners who purchased in that unfortunate time frame "underwater," or owing the lender more than the property is worth. Market forces have whipsawed the values of home prices. At the peak, appreciation soared as high as 50% or more, though more recent plummeting has led to the shedding of as much as 60% or more value, driving American ingenuity to employ the real estate short sale.

Some areas never participated or participated to a milder degree, and are now nearer to recovery, though still a long way from recovered. The committed parties: homeowner, lender, and lender's investor are all involved in a bad way. It's an unfortunate situation, where the only choices are choices that will result in loss. The situation requires that ideas of fairness and recrimination be removed from the issue, letting only economics weigh decision-making. There is a loss to be taken; the loss can be limited, the damage realized, and the process of re-building started. Life and investing is a process, not a destination. We need to move on.

The news media and our own local industry gossip groups are full of stories of cheaters and morally bankrupt property owners defrauding lenders with misstated income to acquire "liar loans"; and Investors who were "non-owner occupants" posing as homeowners to qualify for easier loans, with the intention of leasing the home as an investment or "flipping" the property shortly after closing. Most will agree there is very little room for compassion or understanding when these borrowers find themselves in trouble and ask for help.

However, there is an enormous population of upright citizens that need to sell their residences for a variety of legitimate reasons. They need to move on with their lives, but their lives have stalled due to declining home prices. It is easy to forget that the use of leverage is a two-sided sword until market forces move against an encumbered property. The result has typically been a costly and devastating foreclosure. As a result, the use of a "Short Sale," a relatively new method to liquidate properties, is on the rise.

Many residential borrowers have found themselves in the kind of financial trouble that in the past would have only been remedied by the foreclosure of the lender. The process itself is extremely lengthy and expensive. Not only does the income stream from the mortgage stop, but huge legal expenses start. The borrowers view the lender as an antagonist and villain, sweeping away their property and jeopardizing their future. The borrower attempts every legal obstacle in their effort to remain in the home, but in the inevitable conclusion of a foreclosure, they are forced out.

Often an angry and despondent occupant expresses their frustration and anger by physically damaging the property. The lender not only incurs huge legal fees, but it is not uncommon for repair bills to run up to $30,000 to $40,000 or more. The properties are often stripped of appliances, copper wire, air conditioning units, cabinets, plumbing fixtures, and lighting fixtures. The property can become an unsightly blight to the neighborhood, with unkempt lawns and ruined landscaping. The entire area is affected, and property values are further impacted, exacerbating the situation.

"A foreclosure makes a bad situation worse; in attempting to protect the asset, it loses even more value, causing greater losses."

A foreclosure makes a bad situation worse; in attempting to protect the asset, it loses even more value, causing greater losses. The lender, often an entity that has never had any face-to-face contact with the borrower, as its sole role was lending the funds in the secondary financing markets, takes enormous losses.

The borrower is also of course extremely damaged by a foreclosure as well. The repercussions of foreclosure extend beyond the obvious loss of the home. Any down payment, often a precious commodity, particularly among first-time buyers who may have tapped family credit lines, is irrevocably lost. There is also the inevitable stress and embarrassment of the process, causing family and personal pressures.

As an American matures, credit scores become very important, affecting not only the ability to borrow money, but to borrow at what rate. Insurance rates for autos, rentals, and homes can be levied based on credit scores. The ability to lease a home is decided in large part by the prospective tenant's credit score, and the higher the risk to a Landlord, the more the rent and the greater the security deposit required within the legal limits of the law. Further, the ability to rent a car while traveling is impacted by your capability to produce a credit card. Credit scores often affect employment applications, security clearance, and job promotions with a present employer.

Many economists agree the new business cycle has started, and within 12-18 months the economy will be much, much better. Troubled borrowers will have a chance to heal their finances, and will once again desire to have a home of their own. A homeowner who has lost a property through foreclosure is barred from a Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) loan for a period of 5 years though, and an investor is barred for 7 years. These former homeowners represent future home sales, and are essential to the recovery.

Both the lenders and the borrowers are severely impacted by the foreclosure process. Once the realization hits that a borrower is going to default on a home loan, it is in the interest of both parties to sell the property as quickly as possible. The use of the "Short Sale," whereby the lender accepts a payoff for less than the full amount of the loan, is gaining more and more acceptance. Although the lender still registers a loss, the loss is far less than the alternative method of foreclosure. The legal and title fees are greatly reduced; utilities normally remain in the borrowers name; upkeep responsibilities remain with the homeowner; the property stays occupied; and the loss from vandalism and theft is mitigated. The sales process is quicker, and the savings are significant to the lender. The owner remains in the property limiting the disruption, and the property never receives the stigma associated with a foreclosure. The stress is greatly reduced and the surrounding neighborhood benefits from a normal sale with a slight twist. The lender still takes a loss, but significantly less of a loss. In many cases, the lender can reduce the loss by 20-30%, a very substantial figure.

The borrower also benefits: The credit score of the borrower is still affected adversely in a "Short Sale," but a typical foreclosure can easily lower a credit score 250-350 points. However, typically in a "Short Sale," only the late payments on the mortgage will show on the credit report; and it will be reported as paid or negotiated when the home is sold. Further, typically a "Short Sale" is not reported on a credit report, and should have no impact on employment should an employer use credit scores as a hiring or promoting criteria. Also, the waiting time to become eligible for a new Fannie Mae loan is greatly reduced to possibly 24 months, providing a huge benefit to both the homeowner and the general economy. Investors also become eligible for a Fannie Mae backed loan sooner than with a foreclosure.

Although the process for a "Short Sale" needs to be streamlined and standardized, the transactions are becoming more and more prevalent. A home being sold as a "Short Sale" does not blight the neighborhood, seems to be sold closer to market value, and is as close to a win-win situation as possible under the present circumstances.

This process will further speed the return to market normalcy. It will unfreeze thousands of homes that need to be sold due to a variety of circumstances. It will permit more and more transactions, eventually allowing economic forces to heal and recuperate the Housing Market. The affected borrowers represented a large part of the buying pool, and represent a significant segment of the population. The sooner the problems are recognized and dealt with, the sooner this segment can again take its place in homeownership, benefiting more Americans and the economy in general. This segment of the market could begin to impact housing demand as soon as 2011. Thus, I believe the realities of today and American ingenuity have taken lemons and made them into lemonade.

Editor's Note: Article should interest investors in Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE), Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), Toronto Dominion (NYSE: TD), UltraShort Real Estate ProShares (NYSE: SRS), Ultra Real Estate ProShares (NYSE: URE), ING Clarion Global Real Estate Income Fund (NYSE: IGR), Xinyuan Real Estate Co. (NYSE: XIN), Rydex Real Estate Fund H (Nasdaq: RYHRX), T. Rowe Price Real Estate Fund (Nasdaq: TRREX), Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL), Hovnanian (NYSE: HOV), D.R. Horton (NYSE: DHI), Beazer Homes (NYSE: BZH), Lennar (NYSE: LEN), K.B. Homes (NYSE: KBH), Pulte Homes (NYSE: PHM), NVR Inc. (NYSE: NVR), Gafisa SA (NYSE: GFA), MDC Holdings (NYSE: MDC), Ryland Group (NYSE: RYL), Meritage Homes (NYSE: MTH), Brookfield Homes (NYSE: BHS), Standard Pacific (NYSE: SPF), M/I Homes (NYSE: MHO), Orleans Homebuilders (AMEX: OHB), Vanguard REIT Index ETF (NYSE: VNQ) and Avatar Holdings (Nasdaq: AVTR).

short sale real estate forum message board chat rooms
Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

Short sale alternatives foreclosure help mortgage debt settlement

Labels:

free email financial newsletter Bookmark and Share

Greek Workers Strike 02-24-10

Greek workers general strike oxi nein EU austerity measures
Visit the front page of Wall Street Greek to see our current coverage of Wall Street, Greek news, economic reports and global financial markets.

(Tickers: See below and also NYSE: TM, NYSE: CHS, Nasdaq: DLTR, NYSE: BDN, NYSE: CCJ, NYSE: LTD, Nasdaq: GRMN, NYSE: TJX, NYSE: LAD, NYSE: GDP, NYSE: SJM, NYSE: NBG, NYSE: OTE, NYSE: CCH, NYSE: TRI, NYSE: WPO, NYSE: TNP, NYSE: F, NYSE: DAI, NYSE: NU, Nasdaq: DRYS, NYSE: GNK, NYSE: NMM, NYSE: DAC, Nasdaq: TOPS, Nasdaq: PRGN, NYSE: DSX, NYSE: DIA, NYSE: SPY, Nasdaq: QQQQ, NYSE: DOG, NYSE: SDS, NYSE: QLD)

Greek Workers Strike



the Greek workers strikeGreek workers are striking today as part of a national strike to protest Greece's austerity plans. Greek workers are not pleased with the distance their European Union brethren have put between Greece and EU aid. Nor are Greek laborers happy with EU urged austerity measures that will have the already stressed Greek populace scraping even harder just to get by. I expect to see old flames rekindled today, literally, as a citizenry at its limit takes to the streets. It's a good day to take holiday if you work for a foreign bank in Greece, and foreign embassies would be wise to be on high guard and lock-down.

State-Side Economic Data

Toyoda Faces Fire

Toyota (NYSE: TM) comes under higher scrutiny Wednesday as the company's President, Akio Toyoda, faces a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Mr. Toyoda will have a lot of explaining to do to a hostile herd of politicians. I expect to hear at least one representative utter the words, "when we let you sell cars in our country, we expect you to sell sturdy ones, not lemons." The guys out of Michigan and Ohio should be especially hard on Mr. T., while Alabama, and a few other Southern states where Toyota makes cars can be counted on to be either nice or quiet.

Either way, this Toyota short trade is about through, but not quite yet. The stock is now situated right in the middle of our target range spelled out in the above linked article. However, I see two catalysts giving reason to wait a bit before killing the short position. One of them takes place today, and the other is coming right up as well. If you have not followed our thinking strictly and already unwound, I'll let you know when I would unwind the TM short when the time comes. I would consider taking a portion of the profit on weakness today, but beware the analyst who puts his head out on the chopping block with an early "buy Toyota" call. He's the short's worst enemy right now.

Mortgage Activity

State-side, the Mortgage Bankers Association is due to report on Mortgage Activity for the week ended February 19. In the week ended February 12, the MBA's Market Composite Index of mortgage activity decreased 2.1%. Contracted rates on fixed rate mortgages were unchanged in the period, with 30-year rates at 4.94% and 15-year rates at 4.33% on average. Thus, the Refinance Index only moved slightly in the period, but eased 1.2%. The Purchase Index, measuring mortgage applications for the purchases of homes, fell a more significant 4.0%. However, we suspect weather related factors influenced this activity. Despite seasonal adjustment, blizzards are not typically well accounted for...

New Home Sales

New Home Sales will be reported for the month of January at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg are looking for a pick-up in January sales activity, as the market normalizes against November and December closings that were affected by tax credit timing. Economists forecast an annual sales pace of 360K for January, up from December's rate of 342K. December's sales fell off of November's pace of 370K.

December's softness was mostly driven by the Midwest region of the nation, where sales dipped by 41.1%; however, a 42.9% improvement in the Northeast went far at mitigating a troubling situation. At December's sales pace, new home inventory stood at 8.1 months. One troubling data point that should be noted is that the "median months for sale" figure continued to deteriorate in December, to 13.9, from 13.8 in November. While economists forecast an improvement for January activity, watch out for weather effects for January, and especially for February, which will be due for reporting a month from now.

Humphrey Hawkins or something like that

Well that's what they use to call it. Now-a-days we just call Chairman Bernanke's trip to Capitol Hill his Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress, before the House Committee on Financial Services, at the U.S. House of Representatives (exhale). Well, Benjamin will likely be asked a good deal about his exit strategy, and what exactly last week's discount rate hike was all about. We told you here that it was much to do about nothing, and we expect Ben will say the same.

Petroleum Status

The EIA's regular Petroleum Status Report is due for release at its usual 10:30 time slot. Last week's report on the period ending February 12 showed crude oil inventory increased by 3.1 million barrels. Still, oil teased $80 since, partly on dollar strength though. Gasoline stores also increased - by 1.7 million barrels in the latest period. Distillate fuel inventories fell, however, by 2.9 million barrels. Logic tells us that inclimate weather likely intensified heating oil demand, while folks did a lot less driving through the blizzards of the Eastern seaboard. Watch out Easterners, as the propaganda machine known as the local weather news crew says another one is on the way Thursday night through Saturday morning.

Earnings Schedule

Wednesday's earnings schedule includes news from AerCap (NYSE: AER), American Ecology (Nasdaq: ECOL), American Tower (NYSE: AMT), AmSurg (Nasdaq: AMSG), Ashford Hospitality Trust (NYSE: AHT), ASM International (Nasdaq: ASMI), Bio-Rad Laboratories (NYSE: BIO), Brandywine Realty Trust (NYSE: BDN), California Water Service (NYSE: CWT), Cameco (NYSE: CCJ), Chart Industries (Nasdaq: GTLS), Chico's FAS (NYSE: CHS), Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR), Daktronics (Nasdaq: DAKT), Dana Holding (NYSE: DAN), Deltic Timber (NYSE: DEL), Dollar Tree (Nasdaq: DLTR), Donaldson (NYSE: DCI), Eaton Vance (NYSE: EV), Express Scripts (Nasdaq: ESRX), FelCor Lodging Trust (NYSE: FCH), First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR), FirstService (Nasdaq: FSRV), Frontier Communications (NYSE: FTR), Gainsco (AMEX: GAN), Garmin (Nasdaq: GRMN), Gilbraltar Industries (Nasdaq: ROCK), Gladstone Commercial (Nasdaq: GOOD), Goodrich Petroleum (NYSE: GDP), Granite Construction (NYSE: GVA), Greif (NYSE: GEF), Grupo Aeroportuario Del Pacific (NYSE: PAC), Health Care REIT (NYSE: HCN), Helix Energy Solutions (NYSE: HLX), Independent Bank (Nasdaq: IBCP), Insignia Systems (Nasdaq: ISIG), J.M. Smucker (NYSE: SJM), Kaiser Aluminum (Nasdaq: KALU), Lexington Realty Trust (NYSE: LXP), Limited Brands (NYSE: LTD), Lithia Motors (NYSE: LAD), McGrath Rentcorp (Nasdaq: MGRC), MDC Partners (Nasdaq: MDCA), Mobile Mini (Nasdaq: MINI), Northeast Utilities (NYSE: NU), Onyx Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ONXX), PDL BioPharma (Nasdaq: PDLI), PetroHawk Energy (NYSE: HK), Polypore Int'l (NYSE: PPO), ProAssurance Corp. (NYSE: PRA), RailAmerica (NYSE: RA), R.R. Donnelley (Nasdaq: RRD), Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), SenoRx (Nasdaq: SENO), South Jersey Industries (NYSE: SJI), Teleflex (NYSE: TFX), Tenaris (NYSE: TS), The TJX Cos. (NYSE: TJX), The Washington Post (NYSE: WPO), Thomson Reuters (NYSE: TRI), TransAlta (NYSE: TAC), Transocean (NYSE: RIG), Trico Marine Services (Nasdaq: TRMA), TriQuint Semiconductor (Nasdaq: TQNT), TTI Telecom (Nasdaq: TTIL), Tyler Technologies (NYSE: TYL), Ultrapar Participacoes S.A. (NYSE: UGP), Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE: WRI), Whiting Petroleum (NYSE: WLL), Wynn Resorts (Nasdaq: WYNN) and Zale Corp. (NYSE: ZLC).

Greek workers strike forum message board chat rooms stocks business
Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

Greek Easter candles lambades baskets

Labels:

free email financial newsletter Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Stock Market News 02-23-10

stock market news
Consumer & Investor Confidence play alongside regular same-store sales data to swing the stock market news flow on Tuesday.

Visit the front page of Wall Street Greek to see our current coverage of stock market news, economic reports, global financial markets and foreign affairs.

(Relative Tickers: See below, and also NYSE: HD, NYSE: MHS, NYSE: BKS, NYSE: CQB, Nasdaq: CBRL, Nasdaq: EXPD, NYSE: DWA, Nasdaq: FDML, NYSE: ODP, NYSE: PNM, Nasdaq: PZZA, NYSE: HLS, NYSE: IDC, NYSE: TGT, NYSE: THC, NYSE: VNO, NYSE: WTW, NYSE: DIA, NYSE: SPY, Nasdaq: QQQQ, NYSE: DOG, NYSE: SDS, NYSE: QLD)

Stock Market News



stock market news businessTuesday's stock market news slate offers three economic data points in the pre-market and another two after the open of stock market trading. The news wire also includes some more Fed speak, and two more investor conferences kick off activities today, following a similarly busy Monday.

ICSC Same-Store Sales

Tuesday brings news for the week ending on February 20. Weather driven weakness plagued same-store sales in the week ending on February 13. The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) noted sales fell a drastic 1.6% from the prior period. When compared against the nearly dead activity of the prior year period, sales fell just 0.7%. The ICSC sees February sales rising about 2%. We do not follow the Redbook sales data, which will also be released in the early AM, as it is a lesser metric, in our view. However, it usually coincides with other sales metrics, including this one. That said, last week's data differed from the ICSC trend, with Redbook's year-to-year sales change showing a 1.8% improvement for the February 13 period.

Case Shiller Home Price Index

Case Shiller's three-month lagged home price data is due for release at 9:00 AM. You can usually catch Professor Robert Shiller on Bloomberg Radio just after the release.

January's report for the month of November 2009 showed mixed results, with November marking the tenth month of year-on-year improvement. On a monthly basis, the rate of price decline eased further, to -4.5% and -5.3% for the 10-City and 20-City Composites, respectively. However, four large markets posted new index lows in November; those included Charlotte, Las Vegas, Seattle and Tampa.

The First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit delay, and later extension and expansion, played havoc with home sales last fall and continues to skew results even now. It seems likely to us that the rush to enter into contracts ahead of the deadline helped the pricing environment in September and hurt pricing as demand slackened through the end of the year (including November). Still, several important markets posted annual price increase in November (for the first time in a long while); those included Dallas, Denver, San Francisco and San Diego. Mixed data indeed...

Consumer Confidence

The Conference Board reports on Consumer Confidence at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Based on already released data from similar metrics, the economists' consensus is predicting a decline in this February reporting of consumer confidence, to 55.0, from 55.9 in January. Unemployment is about as high as ever, and a cloud of hopelessness seems to overhang Congress, souring consumer sentiment and damaging the President's approval rating as well. Congress' approval rating could not get much lower.

Investor Confidence

State Street (NYSE: STT) reports on Investor Confidence at 10:00 a.m. The financial firm's January check showed the index gained a bit, to 104.5, from 104.3 in December. North American investors exhibited the most confidence, with the region's index improving 4.4 points, to 107.9. Asia was nearly unchanged at last check, while Europe fell 5.6 points to 98.9... It's clear why...

There's no forecast available for this data, but based on stock price trend, we would not look for a drastic softening of investor confidence in the US. However, the overall metric might not match an American gain, given European woes and recent economic braking in China.

Fed Speak

At 5:00 p.m., look for St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard to give a speech on regulatory reform. Mr. Bullard will be addressing the Chartered Financial Analysts Virginia Society.

Conference Season

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch (NYSE: BAC) Insurance Conference kicks off in NYC, and it will run through Wednesday. In San Francisco, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) launches its Technology and Internet Conference. It will run through Thursday, and headlines presentations from Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO).

Earnings Reports

Juniper Networks (Nasdaq: JNPR) has its analyst day get-together Tuesday. The day's earnings schedule includes data from Acorda Therapeutics (Nasdaq: ACOR), American Reprographics (NYSE: ARP), Astec Industries (Nasdaq: ASTE), AXT Inc. (Nasdaq: AXTI), Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS), BGC Partners (Nasdaq: BGCP), Bill Barrett Corp. (NYSE: BBG), Blue Coat Systems (Nasdaq: BCSI), CDI Corp. (NYSE: CDI), Century Aluminum (Nasdaq: CENX), Chiquita Brands (NYSE: CQB), Cobra Electronics (Nasdaq: COBR), Cracker Barrel (Nasdaq: CBRL), DealerTrack Holdings (Nasdaq: TRAK), Homex Development (NYSE: HXM), Dorman Products (Nasdaq: DORM), DreamWorks Animation (NYSE: DWA), Ducommun (NYSE: DCO), Education Realty Trust (NYSE: EDR), El Paso Electric (NYSE: EE), EPIQ Systems (Nasdaq: EPIQ), Expeditors Int'l (Nasdaq: EXPD), Federal-Mogul (Nasdaq: FDML), Franklin Street Properties (AMEX: FSP), GrafTech Int'l (NYSE: GTI), Graphic Packaging (NYSE: GPK), Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation (Nasdaq: GLDD), Healthsouth (NYSE: HLS), Herbalife (NYSE: HLF), Home Depot (NYSE: HD), IdaCorp (NYSE: IDA), Interactive Data (NYSE: IDC), Limelight Networks (Nasdaq: LLNW), Macy's (NYSE: M), Medco Health Solutions (NYSE: MHS), MHI Hospitality (Nasdaq: MDH), Office Depot (NYSE: ODP), Orient-Express Hotels (NYSE: OEH), Ormat Technologies (NYSE: ORA), Papa John's Pizza (Nasdaq: PZZA), Pepco Holdings (NYSE: POM), PNM Resources (NYSE: PNM), PT Indosat (NYSE: IIT), Range Resources (NYSE: RRC), RRI Energy (NYSE: RRI), Saul Centers (NYSE: BFS), Shengda Tech (Nasdaq: SDTH), Startek (NYSE: SRT), Stone Energy (NYSE: SGY), Talecris Biotherapeutics (Nasdaq: TLCR), Tanger Factory Outlet (NYSE: SKT), Target (NYSE: TGT), Telvent (Nasdaq: TLVT), Tenet Healthcare (NYSE: THC), Ternium (NYSE: TX), The Hackett Group (Nasdaq: HCKT), St. Joe Co. (NYSE: JOE), TIM Participacoes S.A. (NYSE: TSU), TransCanada Corp. (NYSE: TRP), Unit Corp. (NYSE: UNT), Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE: VNO), Watson Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: WPI), Weight Watchers (NYSE: WTW) and Weyco Group (Nasdaq: WEYS).

forum message board chat rooms stocks business
Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

Greek festivals new york city nyc America Canada

free email financial newsletter Bookmark and Share

Monday, February 22, 2010

Market Preview 02-22-10

stock market preview
Visit the front page of Wall Street Greek to see our current market preview, regular coverage of Wall Street, economic reports, global markets and world news.

(Tickers: See below and also NYSE: LOW, NYSE: JWP, NYSE: JPM, NYSE: HON, NYSE: CS, NYSE: WFC, NYSE: DHI, NYSE: LEN, NYSE: HOV, NYSE: VMC, NYSE: ADM, NYSE: STD, NYSE: ABK, NYSE: CPB, NYSE: CEG, NYSE: DPZ, NYSE: GMR, NYSE: GNK, NYSE: HMA, Nasdaq: HGSI, Nasdaq: ICGE, Nasdaq: INET, NYSE: OIS, Nasdaq: SAFM, NYSE: DIA, NYSE: SPY, Nasdaq: QQQQ, NYSE: DOG, NYSE: SDS, NYSE: QLD)

Market Preview



Wall Street the Greek stock market Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke will get a chance to explain himself further to a group of Congressmen who will be pandering up to their specific constituencies again Monday. Forgive me, as it seems like they all do it for the sake of self-preservation, as the eyes of C-SPAN and CNBC focus investor attention to the inquiries. It just gets disgusting to see a Congressman from Alabama pushing Toyota's (NYSE: TM) interests over Ford's (NYSE: F), because of Toyota's plants in the state. Of course, there are a few do-gooder honest Americans in the bunch who really mean it, like our friend from Ohio, Representative Kucinich. It's just that we feel there's not been enough follow through since the chewing out of the rating agencies and such.

Okay, so the President attempted to force a few hard-to-swallow, harder-to-pass through Congress, make-the-rules-up-as-you-go-along laws down the throats of those dastardly bankers we all know and love (i.e. the Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee). And okay, the Credit Card Act of 2009 was passed into law, requiring advance notice of rate hikes and guarding good-status cardholders from extra fees. By the way, that law goes into effect Monday, only like a year after it was passed and after it adequately provided credit card companies the opportunity to properly screw their clientele ahead of the effective date.

When will lobbies stop ruling Congress? How mad will the populace have to get before Congressmen fear God? Err rather torch wielding Joe American? Did you hear about what happened in Greece? I heard, and correct me if I'm wrong, that someone set off a bomb near J.P. Morgan's (NYSE: JPM) offices there? Since I get to see Greek television from time to time, I've noted there's a feeling of "American bankers did the world wrong, and we have to pay?" attitude in Europe that kind of resembles the old Main Streeters' viewpoint here at home. Oh, and what about that gentleman who set his own house on fire and flew a plane into the IRS building in Texas? According to Alan Abelson, one of The Greek's favorite Barron's columnists (we love you too Dimitra), people are pretty pissed (paraphrasing of course, though not by much if you read Alan as regularly as we do).

It's time Congress does something about the rating agencies. And it's time we see real action to protect common Americans from powerful money wielding lobbies who do not represent the broader best interest of America. But no, instead the Supreme Court gives the all-clear to lobbies, letting them basically elect our next president with money. What a sell out! Guess who has no shot of winning now? Our boy Dennis Kucinich, that's who. I have to say, I once thought he was out there... Now I want to be out there with him. Nobody says what America is thinking louder than Mr. Kucinich. God bless him.

Anyway, this article is about preparing you for your Monday...

Besides the Credit Card Act, look for Ben Bernanke to explain his act of last week to the House Financial Services Committee (as we were saying). Mr. B is slated to testify regarding "Prospects for Employment Growth: Is Additional Stimulus Needed?" Good boy Ben, pushing the President's jobs bill like a good soldier. Let me be clear, I want to see that bill passed into law in an effective manner and with effective aspects to it. I'm a small businessman after all.

I want one more thing though; I want the Americans who have been unemployed longer than extended benefits reach, but who are having just as hard a time getting a job as the people who lost their jobs over the last two years, to get extended benefits or some other financial help. There are good people out there who need that help Mr. President, if you're reading. Dennis too! Pick up the gauntlet for those folks too please. Yours truly would fall into that pool if I was looking for a job, and I feel like I deserve the help as much as the guy who is unemployed due to more recent reasoning.

San Fran Fed Boss Janet Yellen is also slated to speak on Monday. She will be addressing the University of San Diego (gosh I wish I was in my favorite California town these days). Hey San Diego, how about inviting The Greek over to write about the happenings, developments and business prospects of your town?

Conference season is in full swing as of Monday. Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS) kicks off its Global Services Conference in Phoenix (the turf of my favorite Chinese Restaurant chain, P.F. Chang's (Nasdaq: PFCB)). Out in Scottsdale (also Arizona), Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) starts its Housing and Building Products Conference, featuring D.R. Horton (NYSE: DHI), Lennar (NYSE: LEN), Hovnanian (NYSE: HOV) and Vulcan Materials (NYSE: VMC).

With rate concern sweeping the corporate street, Barron's reports that several corporate refinancings are scheduled for this week. Look for Archer Daniel's Midland (NYSE: ADM), Bombardier and Banco Santander (NYSE: STD) to lock in better rates.

Note that Honeywell (NYSE: HON) will hold its yearly shareholders conference Monday. The day's earnings schedule includes news from Lowe's (NYSE: LOW), A. T. Cross Co. (Nasdaq: ATX), Adolor (Nasdaq: ADLR), Aegean Marine Petroleum (NYSE: ANW), AES Corp. (NYSE: AES), Aircastle (NYSE: AYR), Alexander's (NYSE: ALX), Alleghany (NYSE: Y), Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ALNY), AMAG Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: AMAG), Ambac Financial (NYSE: ABK), American Dental Partners (Nasdaq: ADPI), American Equity Investment Life (NYSE: AEL), American Public Education (Nasdaq: APEI), American Water Works (NYSE: AWK), Amerisafe (Nasdaq: AMSF), Anadigics (Nasdaq: ANAD), Anadys Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ANDS), Analysts International (Nasdaq: ANLY), Angeion (Nasdaq: ANGN), Applied Signal Technology (Nasdaq: APSG), Arbinet (Nasdaq: ARBX), Asbury Automotive (NYSE: ABG), Assisted Living Concepts (NYSE: ALC), Assured Guaranty (NYSE: AGO), Asta Funding (Nasdaq: ASFI), Athenahealth (Nasdaq: ATHN), Athersys (Nasdaq: ATHX), Atlas Air (Nasdaq: AAWW), ATS Medical (Nasdaq: ATSI), Autodesk (Nasdaq: ADSK), Avago Technologies (Nasdaq: AVGO), Avis Budget Group (NYSE: CAR), Balchem (Nasdaq: BCPC), Bancroft (AMEX: BCV), BankFinancial (Nasdaq: BFIN), Basic Energy Services (NYSE: BAS), BIDZ.com (Nasdaq: BIDZ), Biovail (NYSE: BVF), Blonder Tongue Laboratories (AMEX: BDR), Boise (NYSE: BZ), BTU International (Nasdaq: BTUI), Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE: COG), Cache, Inc. (Nasdaq: CACH), Calgon Carbon (NYSE: CCC), Campbell Soup (NYSE: CPB), CapitalSource (NYSE: CSE), CapLease (NYSE: LSE), Cardtronics (Nasdaq: CATM), Caribou Coffee Co. (Nasdaq: CBOU), Carriage Services (NYSE: CSV), CAS Medical Systems (Nasdaq: CASM), Catalyst Health Solutions (Nasdaq: CHSI), Cbeyond (Nasdaq: CBEY), Celera (Nasdaq: CRA), Celldex Therapeutics (Nasdaq: CLDX), CenterPoint Energy (NYSE: CNP), Central European Media Enterprises (Nasdaq: CETV), Central Virginia Bankshares (Nasdaq: CVBK), Cerus (Nasdaq: CERS), Cheniere Energy (AMEX: CQP), Chicago Bridge & Iron (NYSE: CBI), CIBER (NYSE: CBR), Circor Int'l (NYSE: CIR), Clean Harbors (NYSE: CLH), Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF), Cogdell Spencer (NYSE: CSA), Cogent Communications (Nasdaq: CCOI), Comfort Systems (NYSE: FIX), CommScope (NYSE: CTV), Computer Task Group (Nasdaq: CTGX), CompX International (NYSE: CIX), Concho Resources (NYSE: CXO), Constellation Energy (NYSE: CEG), Cott (NYSE: COT), Covanta (NYSE: CVA), Cross Timbers Royalty Trust (NYSE: CRT), Data I/O (Nasdaq: DAIO), Dataram (Nasdaq: DRAM), DCP Midstream Partners (NYSE: DPM), DiamondRock Hospitality (NYSE: DRH), Digimarc (Nasdaq: DMRC), Dolan Media (NYSE: DM), Dominos Pizza (NYSE: DPZ), Dorchester Minerals (Nasdaq: DMLP), Dot Hill Systems (Nasdaq: HILL), Dresser-Rand (NYSE: DRC), DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE), DTS, Inc. (Nasdaq: DTSI), Dyax (Nasdaq: DYAX), Dycom (NYSE: DY), Dynegy (NYSE: DYN), El Paso (NYSE: EP), El Paso Pipeline (NYSE: EPB), eLong (Nasdaq: LONG), Employers Holdings (NYSE: EIG), Endo Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ENDP), Entercom Communications (NYSE: ETM), Entertainment Properties Trust (NYSE: EPR), EpiCept Corp. (Nasdaq: EPCT), Esterline Technologies (NYSE: ESL), EuroBancshares (Nasdaq: EUBK), Euronet Services (Nasdaq: EEFT), Euroseas Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESEA), EXCO Resources (NYSE: XCO), Exterran Holdings (NYSE: EXH), Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM), FGX Int'l (Nasdaq: FGXI), FiberTower Corp. (Nasdaq: FTWR), FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE), Five Star Quality Care (NYSE: FVE), Flowserve (NYSE: FLS), Fresh Del Monte Produce (NYSE: FDP), Genco Shipping & Trading (NYSE: GNK), General Maritime (NYSE: GMR), General Moly (AMEX: GMO), Genesis Energy (AMEX: GEL), Genoptix (Nasdaq: GXDX), Global Cash Access (NYSE: GCA), Global Industries (Nasdaq: GLBL), Global-Tech Advanced Innovations (Nasdaq: GAI), Golden Star Resources (AMEX: GSS), Gran Tierra Energy (AMEX: GTE), Greenlight Capital Re (Nasdaq: GLRE), Grupo Casa Saba (NYSE: SAB), Grupo TMM (NYSE: TMM), GTC Biotherapeutics (Nasdaq: GTCB), Gulfmark Offshore (NYSE: GLF), Harvard Bioscience (Nasdaq: HBIO), HCC Insurance (NYSE: HCC), Health Management Associates (NYSE: HMA), Healthcare Realty Trust (NYSE: HR), HealthStream (Nasdaq: HSTM), Heartland Payment Systems (NYSE: HPY), Heartware Int'l (Nasdaq: HTWR), Heico (NYSE: HEI), Heidrick and Struggles (Nasdaq: HSII), Henry Schein (Nasdaq: HSIC), Hersha Hospitality (NYSE: HT), HRPT Properties Trust (NYSE: HRP), Hugoton Royalty Trust (NYSE: HGT), Human Genome Sciences (Nasdaq: HGSI), Huron Consulting Group (Nasdaq: HURN), iCAD (Nasdaq: ICAD), Iconix Brand (Nasdaq: ICON), Insituform Technologies (Nasdaq: INSU), Interface (Nasdaq: IFSIA), Internet Brands (Nasdaq: INET), Internet Capital Group (Nasdaq: ICGE), Internet Gold (Nasdaq: IGLD), inVentiv Health (Nasdaq: VTIV), Iowa Telecommunications (NYSE: IWA), iParty Corp. (NYSE: IPT), IPG Photonics (Nasdaq: IPGP), Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM), ISTA Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ISTA), iStar Financial (NYSE: SFI), ITC Holdings (NYSE: ITC), James River Coal Co. (Nasdaq: JRCC), JMP Group (NYSE: JMP), Kaman Corp. (Nasdaq: KAMN), Kansas City Life (Nasdaq: KCLI), Kendle (Nasdaq: KNDL), Kewaunee Scientific (Nasdaq: KEQU), King Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: KG), Leucadia (NYSE: LUK), Lexicon Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: LXRX), Lincoln Electric (Nasdaq: LECO), Linn Energy (Nasdaq: LINE), Liz Claiborne (NYSE: LIZ), Lodgian (AMEX: LGN), LSB Financial (Nasdaq: LSBI), Lydall (NYSE: LDL), M&F Worldwide (NYSE: MFW), Macquarie Infrastructure (NYSE: MIC), Magna Int'l (NYSE: MGA), ManTech Int'l (Nasdaq: MANT), Mariner Energy (NYSE: ME), Market Leader (Nasdaq: LEDR), MedAssets (Nasdaq: MDAS), Mediacomm Communications (Nasdaq: MCCC), Medicis (NYSE: MRX), MercadoLibre (Nasdaq: MELI), Met-Pro (NYSE: MPR), Metropolitan Health (NYSE: MDF), MGE Energy (Nasdaq: MGEE), Monotype Imaging (Nasdaq: TYPE), Morgans Hotel Group (Nasdaq: MHGC), National Health Investors (NYSE: NHI), National Interstate (Nasdaq: NATL), Natus Medical (Nasdaq: BABY), Navigant Consulting (NYSE: NCI), Nektar Therapeutics (Nasdaq: NKTR), NetEase.com (Nasdaq: NTES), New Oriental Energy & Chemical (Nasdaq: NOEC), Nicor (NYSE: GAS), NN Inc. (Nasdaq: NNBR), Nordson (Nasdaq: NDSN), Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN), North American Palladium (AMEX: PAL), NovaGold Resources (AMEX: NG), Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL), NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG), NTELOS Holdings (Nasdaq: NTLS), Oil States Int'l (NYSE: OIS), Omnicare (NYSE: OCR), ONEOK Partners (NYSE: OKS), Onvia.com (Nasdaq: ONVI), OpenTV Corp. (Nasdaq: OPTV), Optibase (Nasdaq: OBAS), Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE: OWW), Orbotech (Nasdaq: ORBK), Orchids Paper (AMEX: TIS), Osiris Therapeutics (Nasdaq: OSIR), Outdoor Channel (Nasdaq: OUTD), OXiGENE (Nasdaq: OXGN), PAETEC Holding (Nasdaq: PAET), Park City Group (OTC: PCYG.OB), PC Mall (Nasdaq: MALL), PowerShares Dynamic Software (NYSE: PSJ), Pioneer Drilling (AMEX: PDC), Pointer Telocation (Nasdaq: PNTR), Portec Rail Products (Nasdaq: PRPX), Portland General Electric (NYSE: POR), Pre-Paid Legal (NYSE: PPD), Psychiatric Solutions (Nasdaq: PSYS), Quanex (NYSE: NX), Quanta Services (NYSE: PWR), Quigley (Nasdaq: QGLY), Radian Group (NYSE: RDN), Radiant Systems (Nasdaq: RADS), RadioShack (NYSE: RSH), RAIT Financial (NYSE: RAS), RCN Corp. (Nasdaq: RCNI), Ready Mix (AMEX: RMX), Redwood Trust (NYSE: RWT), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: REGN), RSC Holdings (NYSE: RRR), Saks (NYSE: SKS), Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM), Sanderson Farms (Nasdaq: SAFM), Savient Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: SVNT), Scientific Games (Nasdaq: SGMS), Scientific Learning (Nasdaq: SCIL), SeaBright Insurance (NYSE: SBX), Sears Holdings (Nasdaq: SHLD), Senior Housing Properties (NYSE: SNH), Service Corp. (NYSE: SCI), Shiloh Industries (Nasdaq: SHLO), SI Financial (Nasdaq: SIFI), Signalife (NYSE: SGN), Silver Wheaton (NYSE: SLW), Smart Balance (Nasdaq: SMBL), Solta Medical (Nasdaq: SLTM), Sotheby's (NYSE: BID), SoundBite Communications (Nasdaq: SDBT), Southern Union (NYSE: SUG), SRS Labs (Nasdaq: SRSL), St. Mary Land & Exploration (NYSE: SM), Stantec (NYSE: STN), Steiner Leisure (Nasdaq: STNR), Steve Madden (Nasdaq: SHOO), Stoneridge (NYSE: SRI), Strategic Diagnostics (Nasdaq: SDIX), Sturm Ruger (NYSE: RGR), Superior Industries (NYSE: SUP), Superior Uniform (Nasdaq: SGC), Synovus Life Tech (Nasdaq: SYNO), TAL Int'l (NYSE: TAL), Taser Int'l (Nasdaq: TASR), Teche Holding (AMEX: TSH), TechTeam Global (Nasdaq: TEAM), Tejon Ranch (NYSE: TRC), Telephone & Data Systems (NYSE: TDS), Telik (Nasdaq: TELK), Tennant (NYSE: TNC), Tesco (Nasdaq: TESO), TETRA Holdings (NYSE: TTI), Texas Roadhouse (Nasdaq: TXRH), TGC Industries (Nasdaq: TGE), The Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX), The Dixie Group (Nasdaq: DXYN), The Inventure Group (Nasdaq: SNAK), The Phoenix Cos. (NYSE: PNX), The9 Ltd. (Nasdaq: NCTY), Thomas Properties (Nasdaq: TPGI), Titan Int'l (NYSE: TWI), Titanium Metals (NYSE: TIE), Tortoise Energy Capital (NYSE: TYY), TranS1 (Nasdaq: TSON), Trex Co. (Nasdaq: TREX), Trio-Tech (AMEX: TRT), True Religion (Nasdaq: TRLG), Tutor Perini (NYSE: TPC), Unify (Nasdaq: UNFY), UniSource Energy (NYSE: UNS), United Natural Foods (Nasdaq: UNFI), Universal Health Realty (NYSE: UHT), Universal Health Services (NYSE: UHS), Universal Truckload (Nasdaq: UACL), USEC (NYSE: USU), Valassis Communications (NYSE: VCI), Verenium (Nasdaq: VRNM), Versant (Nasdaq: VSNT), VioPharma (Nasdaq: VPHM), VirtualScopics (Nasdaq: VSCP), Vina Concha y Toro (NYSE: VCO), W. P. Carey (NYSE: WPC), Wabtec (NYSE: WAB), Warnaco Group (NYSE: WRC), Waste Services (Nasdaq: WSII), Williams Pipeline Partners (NYSE: WMZ), Winmark (Nasdaq: WINA), World Fuel Services (NYSE: INT) and XETA Technologies (Nasdaq: XETA).

forum message board chat rooms market preview

Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

twitter business news

free email financial newsletter Bookmark and Share

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fed Raised Discount Interest Rate

Fed raised discount interest rate
Surprise!

This Fed discount interest rate maneuver surprised the market, driving stock futures lower after the close of trading, but don't panic, it's not what you think...

Visit the front page of Wall Street Greek to see our current coverage of Fed interest rate actions, Wall Street, economic reports, global financial markets and foreign affairs.

(Tickers: Nasdaq: DELL, GOOG, NYSE: ADP, NYSE: ABB, OTC: AKZOF.PK, NYSE: AEE, NYSE: APA, NYSE: ARB, Nasdaq: AUTH, NYSE: AVA, OTC: AXAHF.PK, NYSE: ABX, NYSE: BBW, NYSE: CAB, Nasdaq: CPKI, NYSE: CBS, NYSE: CLW, NYSE: CRY, NYSE: DAI, NYSE: DDR, Nasdaq: ECLP, Nasdaq: GPRO, Nasdaq: HGIC, Nasdaq: HITT, NYSE: HME, NYSE: HRL, NYSE: IM, Nasdaq: JCOM, Nasdaq: KSWS, NYSE: KEG, NYSE: LTM, NYSE: LL, Nasdaq: MCHX, Nasdaq: MORN, Nasdaq: NANO, NYSE: NR, NYSE: NXY, NYSE: NBL, Nasdaq: OCNW, NYSE: OGE, NYSE: PWE, Nasdaq: PGTI, Nasdaq: POOL, NYSE: PDE, NYSE: PEG, NYSE: RUK, NYSE: RS, Nasdaq: SCHS, Nasdaq: STFC, NYSE: STC, NYSE: SFY, Nasdaq: TCLP, Nasdaq: NDAQ, NYSE: UAM, NYSE: VR, Nasdaq: VDSI, Nasdaq: WOOF, NYSE: VVC, NYSE: VTR, Nasdaq: VRAZ, NYSE: WMT, NYSE: WRE, NYSE: WCG, NYSE: WMB, NYSE: WPZ, Nasdaq: WIN, NYSE: DIA, NYSE: SPY, Nasdaq: QQQQ, NYSE: DOG, NYSE: SDS, NYSE: QLD)

fed discount interest rate actionAfter the close of trading Thursday, the Federal Reserve announced a unanimous decision to raise the Discount Rate from 1/2 percent to 3/4 percent. Stock futures gave back nearly a full percentage point in the after market, as traders hurriedly misinterpreted this market normalizing action for a sign the Fed was shifting into reverse. However, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke made it plainly clear last week that his Fed would not raise the Fed funds target rate anytime soon.

This discount rate action simply represents a movement toward normalcy, and it is something the market should have been better prepared for. The problem is that Fed speak had been mostly focused on the conclusion of asset purchase programs. The market had concluded this would occur first, and we could worry about other things later. Bernanke went wrong by not signaling the discount rate action as he did the securities markets plan.

As the crisis took hold, the Fed had to do whatever it could to make useful capital available to financial institutions in a bind, and to ensure it would be as little burdensome as possible (low rates, long terms). But now things are improved, and the Fed needs to reduce its balance sheet. It is reducing the term limit on this intended short-term funding and raising the cost of such capital. It's just one action of many planned for the process of unwinding, and it's nothing to fear.

This change in the discount rate should have no affect on loan rates, CD rates, savings rates or credit card rates, but the market is worried about something else. The market is stressed that the Federal Reserve may tighten credit too soon and burden an already dragging recovery. We think it's clear that the Fed is not going to raise the Fed funds target rate anytime soon. The market looks ahead though, and so the dollar strengthened and stocks retraced. I expect smart money will prevail and this early reaction will be likewise unwound with the special discount rate.

In overseas banking news, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) kept rates steady as expected.

Producer Price Index

The Producer Price Index keyed the news wire on Thursday morning. Headline PPI increased 1.4% in January, well above the economists' consensus view for a 0.8% increase. The increase in the Headline figure was greatly influenced by a 5.1% increase in the energy index; more specifically, an 11.5% rise in gasoline prices. Core PPI still rose a troubling 0.3% though, where economists were looking for only a 0.1% increase. We accurately prepared you for this data in our "Week Ahead" copy, within which we noted an expectation for pressure from petroleum and foods pricing; and both played out as we said.

Weekly Jobless Claims

Weekly Initial Jobless Claims popped back up to 473K in the week ending February 13, up from the revised 442K posted the prior week. This is not good news for a market that had started to bank on slowing rates of job losses. The four-week moving average eased slightly though, to 467.5K.

Leading Economic Indicators

Leading Economic Indicators only gained 0.3% in January, after posting a 1.1% gain in December. Economists had forecast a smaller 0.5% gain, but the result was worse. The Fed (and other stimulus) continues to play a big role in LEI improvement, due to the low level of bank borrowing costs it has established. The spread between the overnight bank lending rate and 10-year Treasury Yield provides the lift, and it did so again in January. In this week's "Week Ahead" copy, I warned that, "While I can agree with this data forecast for January, I worry about February and the next few months ahead." Fed unwind activities go a ways toward pushing that forecast. My concern is confirmed, as the strongest drivers of gains in LEI have been on government stimulus. Now that the government is about to pull it away, how well will this economy stand on its own with near 10% unemployment? That's rhetorical...

Philadelphia Fed Survey

A few days after the New York Fed's manufacturing data showed improvement, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve reported Philly activity also gained- to 17.6 on the General Business Conditions Index. The index was seen improving to only 17.0 in February, from 15.2 in January. The new orders index had slipped two months in a row, but it gained ground in February, rising sharply to 22.7, from 3.2 in January.

Corporate Drivers

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) was hopeful a hearing on its settlement with authors might work out favorably, but the judge grilled the parties involved and refused to rule too quickly. ADP (NYSE: ADP) met with analysts, and earnings were reported by Dell (Nasdaq: DELL), ABB, Inc. (NYSE: ABB), Akzo Nobel (OTC: AKZOF.PK), Ameren (NYSE: AEE), Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA), Arbitron (NYSE: ARB), AuthenTec (Nasdaq: AUTH), Avista (NYSE: AVA), AXA SA (OTC: AXAHF.PK), Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX), Build A Bear Workshop (NYSE: BBW), Cabela's (NYSE: CAB), California Pizza Kitchen (Nasdaq: CPKI), CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS), Clearwater Paper (NYSE: CLW), CryoLife (NYSE: CRY), Daimler (NYSE: DAI), Developers Diversified Realty (NYSE: DDR), Eclipsys (Nasdaq: ECLP), Gen-Probe (Nasdaq: GPRO), Harleysville Group (Nasdaq: HGIC), Hittite Microwave (Nasdaq: HITT), Home Properties (NYSE: HME), Hormel Foods (NYSE: HRL), Ingram Micro (NYSE: IM), j2 Global Communications (Nasdaq: JCOM), K-Swiss (Nasdaq: KSWS), Key Energy Services (NYSE: KEG), Life Time Fitness (NYSE: LTM), Lumber Liquidators (NYSE: LL), Marchex (Nasdaq: MCHX), Morningstar (Nasdaq: MORN), Nanometrics (Nasdaq: NANO), Newpark Resources (NYSE: NR), NEXEN (NYSE: NXY), Noble Energy (NYSE: NBL), Occam Networks (Nasdaq: OCNW), OGE Energy (NYSE: OGE), Penn West Energy Trust (NYSE: PWE), PGT, Inc. (Nasdaq: PGTI), Pool Corp. (Nasdaq: POOL), Pride International (NYSE: PDE), PSE&G (NYSE: PEG), Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK), Reliance Steel & Aluminum (NYSE: RS), School Specialty (Nasdaq: SCHS), State Auto Financial (Nasdaq: STFC), Stewart Information Services (NYSE: STC), Swift Energy (NYSE: SFY), TC Pipelines (Nasdaq: TCLP), The Nasdaq OMX Group (Nasdaq: NDAQ), Universal American (NYSE: UAM), Validus Holdings (NYSE: VR), VASCO Data Security (Nasdaq: VDSI), VCA Antech (Nasdaq: WOOF), Vectren (NYSE: VVC), Ventas (NYSE: VTR), Veraz Networks (Nasdaq: VRAZ), Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT), Washington Real Estate Investment Trust (NYSE: WRE), WellCare Health Plans (NYSE: WCG), Williams Companies (NYSE: WMB), Williams Partners (NYSE: WPZ) and Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN).

fed forum message board chat rooms
Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

lambades easter candles easter baskets

free email financial newsletter Bookmark and Share

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Economic Reports Insight

economic reports insight
Visit the front page of Wall Street Greek to see our current economic reports insight, and coverage of Wall Street, global financial markets and foreign affairs.

Relative Tickers: NYSE: DRI, Nasdaq: ACGY, NYSE: AAP, NYSE: AEM, NYSE: ADI, Paris: BNP.PA, NYSE: BW, Nasdaq: CLMT, Nasdaq: CECO, NYSE: CHK, NYSE: XEC, Nasdaq: CVGI, NYSE: CYH, NYSE: DE, NYSE: DVN, Nasdaq: DGICA, NYSE: ENH, NYSE: XJT, NYSE: FRT, Nasdaq: FNDT, Nasdaq: GENZ, NYSE: GRT, Nasdaq: GUID, Nasdaq: HGRD, NYSE: HPQ, NYSE: HST, NYSE: IAM, NYSE: ING, Nasdaq: ITIC, Nasdaq: IRBT, Nasdaq: ITRI, Nasdaq: ITRN, NYSE: KGC, NYSE: KRG, NYSE: KOP, NYSE: MSO, Nasdaq: NCIT, Nasdaq: NTAP, NYSE: NFX, Nasdaq: NICE, Nasdaq: ORLY, NYSE: OII, NYSE: OMX, Nasdaq: OTT, NYSE: OC, NYSE: PTP, Nasdaq: PCLN, Nasdaq: RIMG, NYSE: ROC, NYSE: RCI, Nasdaq: SBGI, NYSE: SKX, NYSE: SSS, Nasdaq: VTAL, NYSE: DIA, NYSE: SPY, Nasdaq: QQQQ, NYSE: DOG, NYSE: SDS, NYSE: QLD)

Economic Reports Insight



economic reportsYesterday was heavy on significant economic reports, including Housing Starts, Productivity, the Treasury Budget, FOMC Meeting Minutes, Import/Export Prices, Mortgage Activity and Same-Store Sales data. While the day's trade opportunity is long gone now, we view this economic report data, and our insight, important additions to your memory banks for the days and weeks ahead.

Housing Starts

Kicking off the economic report schedule, Housing Starts were noted for the month of January. Starts ran at an annual pace of 591K, coming in above the economists' consensus for 580K. December's Starts were also revised higher to 575K, from 557K. Compared to the prior year level of activity, Housing Starts were 21.1% higher.

However, all the news was not good, as Building Permit authorizations fell to 621K, down 4.9% from December's revised rate of 653K. That's still 16.9% above January 2009 though. Still, permitting activity precedes housing starts, and if the pace is slowing, it could lead to a slowing Starts pace. Given that Permits are higher than Starts on an absolute basis, that is not necessarily the case.

Multi-family Starts drove the month, as Starts of properties of five units or more increased by 17.6%. Single-family units only increased by 1.5%, as homebuilders remain emotionally scarred by the past few years (or is it sensibility, or better yet foreclosure inventory). Regionally speaking, the Northeast (+10%) and West (+8.9%) were responsible for overall growth, with the South (+1.0%) and Midwest (-3.2%) lagging behind. The good news is that the size of structures played no role in regional trends, with growth in multi-family and single-family both found in the Northeast and West.

We wonder if this is symptomatic of renewed speculation or just the deeper pockets of larger real estate developers. It would seem that smaller properties (assuming lower pricing) might find greater demand as the market recovers, but in metropolitan rich regions found in the Northeast and West, this may not be the driver of construction now. Since prices continue to decline, we suspect developers are not finding the kind of profits they had forecast when the blueprints were drawn up.

"...much of the gain came in manufacturing, where I believe market share shift toward the US automakers (away from Toyota) played a role in skewing results."

Productivity & Capacity Utilization

We received more good news on the surface from the Industrial Production & Capacity Utilization Report for January. Productivity gained by 0.9% (+0.8% in Dec.), versus economists' expectations for an improvement of 0.8%. However, much of the gain came in manufacturing, where I believe market share shift toward the US automakers (away from Toyota) played a role in skewing results.

As Toyota Motors (NYSE: TM) found itself consumed by scandal and faulty recalled vehicles, sales gains ensued at Ford (NYSE: F) and General Motors. This, therefore, does not reflect growth of the economic pie, which is what we are looking for. It, rather, reflected US firms garnering a larger share of the pie. It's a good thing, but it's not reflective of the economic recovery we want to see in this data.

Automotive products gained 5.1%, by far the greatest driver of the overall gain. Also, non-energy non-durable goods acted to boost the overall figure, aided by price increase in foods we expect. My favorite positive point in the data is the 1.7% increase in information processing equipment productivity. That's indicative of real economic expansion post trough.

Capacity Utilization of course improved on this productivity gain, since nobody is expanding production now, which would act as an offset in a more normal environment. Capacity utilization improved 0.7 percentage points, to 72.6%. We have a ways to go yet though, as capacity utilization was still a full 8 percentage points off its 1972-2009 average.

FOMC Meeting Minutes

Much is being made of Thomas Hoenig's dissent regarding the wording on the Fed guided future of interest rates. There was not much difference though Hoenig's suggestion and Fed policy, and it still looks like rates will be kept at zero for the foreseeable future. Great debate also erupted in January with regard to the eventual shrinking of the Fed's fat balance sheet, now above $2 trillion. However, the FOMC members are concerned about the potential perception of such an action, that it might prematurely worry the investment community about rate hikes that may not actually be planned. This is the first time the FOMC took up the prospect of trimming the fat, and so it seems natural that furious debate might fire. The Fed continues to see modest growth and high unemployment for 2010, as well as relatively contained prices. Debate will continue, and the market will seek to understand and predict the timing of Fed rate action. Fed rate hikes act to tame stock prices, as the cost of capital increases.

"...the odds of Standard & Poor's downgrading the US sovereign debt rating are slim to none, because S&P is a biased for profit organization, whose future depends on the economic stability of the United States."

Treasury Budget Deficit January

January usually brings a monthly budget surplus, but this January was special... January's deficit amounted to $42.634 billion, versus economists' expectations for an even larger shortfall of $46 billion.

Comparing America to Greece

There's been much said about the American economy, its budget deficit and how it compares with Greece. As a Greek/American, I think I offer an important voice in saying such comparisons are simply ridiculous. The complexity of the American economy is worlds apart and ahead of Greece, first and foremost. It represents the world's largest active consumer group; its population is the world's most productive; its citizenry are significantly less burdensome than most socialist countries are, and yet far better off than the neglected citizens of communist perversions in North Korea, Russia and China.

Finally, and most critically, the odds of Standard & Poor's downgrading the US sovereign debt rating are slim to none, because S&P is a biased for-profit organization, whose future depends on the economic stability of the United States. In any event, by now, after the Congressional testimonies and discoveries about rating agency operations with regard to mortgage-backed securities, can anyone say there's integrity or impartiality at the inspectors of the House of Cards?

Mortgage Activity

Mortgage activity decreased in the week ended February 12. While the decline was not rate related, it was just as well explained by weather. While rates stuck unchanged, the Market Composite Index decreased 2.1%. Purchase Activity eased by 4.0%, while the Refinance Index slipped 1.2%.

Weekly Same-Store Sales

Weekly same-store sales were likewise weather impacted in the week ending February 13. Week-to-week, sales fell by 1.6%, while the year-to-year change was minus 0.7%.

Import & Export Prices

January's Import and Export Prices data showed greater increases than economists had foreseen. Import prices rose 1.4%, versus expectations for a 1.0% increase (Barron's), 75% definable by energy price increase. However, non-fuel import prices increased 0.4%, and are up 1.3% over the last year.

Export prices jumped 0.8%, versus expectations for a 0.6% increase. Prices are up a big 3.4% over the last twelve months. Agricultural export prices rose 1.4% in January. Still, non-ag prices rose 0.7% in January.

Finished goods prices are not increasing, while input prices are. It's hard to raise prices on finished goods in an economic environment like our current situation. However, increasing demand on stagnant capacity offers an offset for businesses to keep profit margins intact for now. All you have to do is work your previously idle staff, and productivity gains and leverage allow you to absorb rising input costs.

Still, eventually, capacity is going to fill, and capital expenditures will be required to meet demand. Thus, profit margins will be squeezed. Furthermore, at the same time margins are squeezed, potential currency devaluation (across currencies, not relatively speaking) could very well drive prices significantly higher, in my opinion. Thus, we may find ourselves heading for biblical price standards, and an environment that threatens to inspire war for resources. Oh and by the way, that would not be a healthy environment for stocks. What I'm describing is worthy of its own full article, and a subject that deserves greater exploration no matter. I'll explore it further at a later date. That's quite a way to finish though isn't it... or is it finish us all off.

Corporate News Drivers

Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI) has its analysts' day. The EPS schedule includes Acergy (Nasdaq: ACGY), Advance Auto Parts (NYSE: AAP), Agnico-Eagle Mines (NYSE: AEM), Analog Devices (NYSE: ADI), BNP Paribus (Paris: BNP.PA), Brushed Engineered Materials (NYSE: BW), Calumet Specialty (Nasdaq: CLMT), Career Education (Nasdaq: CECO), Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK), Cimarex Energy (NYSE: XEC), Commercial Vehicle Group (Nasdaq: CVGI), Community Health Systems (NYSE: CYH), Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE), Devon Energy (NYSE: DVN), Donegal Group (Nasdaq: DGICA), Endurance Specialty Holding (NYSE: ENH), ExpressJet Holdings (NYSE: XJT), Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE: FRT), Fundtech Corp. (Nasdaq: FNDT), Genzyme (Nasdaq: GENZ), Glimcher Realty Trust (NYSE: GRT), Guidance Software (Nasdaq: GUID), Health Grades (Nasdaq: HGRD), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), Host Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: HST), IAMGOLD (NYSE: IAM), ING Groep (NYSE: ING), Investors Title (Nasdaq: ITIC), iRobot (Nasdaq: IRBT), Itron (Nasdaq: ITRI), Ituran Location & Control (Nasdaq: ITRN), Kinross Gold (NYSE: KGC), Kite Realty Group (NYSE: KRG), Koppers Holdings (NYSE: KOP), Martha Stewart Living (NYSE: MSO), NCI, Inc. (Nasdaq: NCIT), NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP), Newfield Exploration (NYSE: NFX), NICE Systems (Nasdaq: NICE), O’Reilly Automotive (Nasdaq: ORLY), Oceaneering International (NYSE: OII), OfficeMax (NYSE: OMX), Otelco (Nasdaq: OTT), Owens Corning (NYSE: OC), Platinum Underwriters Holdings (NYSE: PTP), Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN), Rimage Corp. (Nasdaq: RIMG), Rockwood Holdings (NYSE: ROC), Rogers Communications (NYSE: RCI), Sinclair Broadcast Group (Nasdaq: SBGI), Skechers (NYSE: SKX), Sovran Self Storage (NYSE: SSS) and Vital Images (Nasdaq: VTAL).

economic forum message board chat rooms
Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

economic reports

Labels: ,

free email financial newsletter Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Week Ahead: Enter the Tiger

week ahead
Visit the front page of Wall Street Greek to see our current Week Ahead schedule, coverage of Wall Street, economic reports and global financial markets.

(Mentioned Tickers: NYSE: AGP, NYSE: BRC, NYSE: BAM, Nasdaq: BUCY, OTC: CRERF.PK, NYSE: ASR, Nasdaq: HMSY, NYSE: JCP, NYSE: TVL, NYSE: PCG, NYSE: PNW, Nasdaq: TRST, Nasdaq: GOOG, NYSE: ADP, NYSE: ABB, OTC: AKZOF.PK, NYSE: AEE, NYSE: APA, NYSE: ARB, Nasdaq: AUTH, NYSE: AVA, OTC: AXAHF.PK, NYSE: ABX, NYSE: BBW, NYSE: CAB, Nasdaq: CPKI, NYSE: CBS, NYSE: CLW, NYSE: CRY, NYSE: DAI, NYSE: DDR, Nasdaq: ECLP, Nasdaq: GPRO, Nasdaq: HGIC, Nasdaq: HITT, NYSE: HME, NYSE: HRL, NYSE: IM, Nasdaq: JCOM, Nasdaq: KSWS, NYSE: KEG, NYSE: LTM, NYSE: LL, Nasdaq: MCHX, Nasdaq: MORN, Nasdaq: NANO, NYSE: NR, NYSE: NXY, NYSE: NBL, Nasdaq: OCNW, NYSE: OGE, NYSE: PWE, Nasdaq: PGTI, Nasdaq: POOL, NYSE: PDE, NYSE: PEG, NYSE: RUK, NYSE: RS, Nasdaq: SCHS, Nasdaq: STFC, NYSE: STC, NYSE: SFY, Nasdaq: TCLP, Nasdaq: NDAQ, NYSE: UAM, NYSE: VR, Nasdaq: VDSI, Nasdaq: WOOF, NYSE: VVC, NYSE: VTR, Nasdaq: VRAZ, NYSE: WMT, NYSE: WRE, NYSE: WCG, NYSE: WMB, NYSE: WPZ, Nasdaq: WIN, NYSE: DRI, Nasdaq: ACGY, NYSE: AAP, NYSE: AEM, NYSE: ADI, Paris: BNP.PA, NYSE: BW, Nasdaq: CLMT, Nasdaq: CECO, NYSE: CHK, NYSE: XEC, Nasdaq: CVGI, NYSE: CYH, NYSE: DE, NYSE: DVN, Nasdaq: DGICA, NYSE: ENH, NYSE: XJT, NYSE: FRT, Nasdaq: FNDT, Nasdaq: GENZ, NYSE: GRT, Nasdaq: GUID, Nasdaq: HGRD, NYSE: HPQ, NYSE: HST, NYSE: IAM, NYSE: ING, Nasdaq: ITIC, Nasdaq: IRBT, Nasdaq: ITRI, Nasdaq: ITRN, NYSE: KGC, NYSE: KRG, NYSE: KOP, NYSE: MSO, Nasdaq: NCIT, Nasdaq: NTAP, NYSE: NFX, Nasdaq: NICE, Nasdaq: ORLY, NYSE: OII, NYSE: OMX, Nasdaq: OTT, NYSE: OC, NYSE: PTP, Nasdaq: PCLN, Nasdaq: RIMG, NYSE: ROC, NYSE: RCI, Nasdaq: SBGI, NYSE: SKX, NYSE: SSS, Nasdaq: VTAL, NYSE: AAN, NYSE: ANF, NYSE: ACC, Nasdaq: AMMD, Nasdaq: ACGL, NYSE: BCS, Nasdaq: CPLA, OTC: FIADF.PK, NYSE: FSR, NYSE: FTI, Nasdaq: FOSL, NYSE: HTS, Nasdaq: HWAY, Nasdaq: INWK, Nasdaq: IOSP, NYSE: JAH, Nasdaq: XPRT, NYSE: MIG, NYSE: MRK, NYSE: MRH, NYSE: NBR, Nasdaq: TNDM, Nasdaq: OTIX, Nasdaq: PLAB, NYSE: Q, NYSE: RPT, Nasdaq: TEVA, NYSE: PMI, AMEX: TCX, Nasdaq: UCTT, NYSE: VMI, NYSE: VAL, NYSE: WM, Nasdaq: WFMI, Nasdaq: WINN, Nasdaq: ZIXI, NYSE: CHE, NYSE: CW, NYSE: DIA, NYSE: SPY, Nasdaq: QQQQ, NYSE: DOG, NYSE: SDS, NYSE: QLD)

Week Ahead



Wall Street, the Greek, week aheadThe shortened week ahead is sure to continue the soap opera in Europe, while Asia takes a break to usher in the Year of the Tiger. In the States, we will receive Leading Indicators, Consumer and Producer Prices, Treasury International Capital, Import & Export Prices and manufacturing reports from the New York and Philadelphia Federal Reserve outlets. The week ahead may be shortened, but it is certainly not going to be short of excitement.

Monday

Financial markets were closed in the United States Monday due to the Presidents Day holiday. Markets were also shuttered in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam and Korea as Asian cultures usher in the Year of the Tiger.

There is no rest for the weary, as euro-zone finance ministers gathered to work on a more detailed rescue plan for Greece. Last week only produced a vague show of support, as infighting between the European brothers left the countries uncommitted on any specifics. The ministers asked Greece Monday to prepare further deficit reduction measures for presentation to the European Commission on March 16, in case it fails to make progress. Ministers are still debating in private regarding what they might do to save Greece from default if need be. However, news of Greece's use of SWAPS, with the help of Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), to possibly hide the degree of its debt burden has some Europeans threatening the ouster of brother Greece.

Of geopolitical note, Israel's leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, met with Russian leaders Monday. Gee, I wonder what they might be talking about... The Mobile World Congress kicked off in Barcelona Monday, and the day's earnings included only two names in the US, Chemed (NYSE: CHE) and Curtiss-Wright (NYSE: CW).

Tuesday

The International Council of Shopping Centers pushes its weekly reporting of same-store sales ahead a day, to Wednesday, due to the holiday.

The New York Federal Reserve will publish its Empire State Manufacturing Survey Tuesday morning at 8:30. At last check in January, the index had recovered ground lost the month before. January's reading of 15.9 on the General Business Conditions Index marked an 11 point improvement. New Orders (index) and Shipments posted similar increases in January, while Unfilled Orders moved above zero. Even the Employment Index moved into positive territory, while the outlook for the coming six months was for improvement. Based on Bloomberg's survey, economists see improvement in the General Business Conditions Index in February, to 18.0.

The manufacturing sector has shown significant improvement over recent months, but we can attribute much of the gains to inventory restocking. We do not expect this driver to sustain the economy forever, but we do expect purchasing managers to remain somewhat optimistic in February.

The Department of the Treasury will report on Treasury International Capital (TIC) for the month of December at 9:00 a.m. November's data showed an oversized net inflow of funds into long-term US securities of $126.8 billion. The previous three months showed inflows of $36.4 billion, $41.2 billion and $19.3 billion. Private foreign investors were making most of the investments, with $96.0 billion of the sum originating from the foreign private sector. As the months come to pass, we expect to see evidence of even more net benefit to US securities due to developments in Europe.

At 12:45, look for Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota's speech to the Minnesota Bankers Association. Kansas City Fed Boss, Thomas Hoenig is scheduled to speak as well; the topic of Mr. Hoenig's discussion will be "Avoiding a Government Debt Crisis."

At 1:00 p.m., look for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to report its Housing Market Index for the month of February. Builders' sentiment has remained mostly pessimistic through early general economic recovery. January's HMI was marked at 15, down from 16 in December.

Several large hedge funds will disclose their major fourth quarter trades on Tuesday. Also, monthly credit card defaults are due for report.

Tuesday's EPS reports include Aaron's (NYSE: AAN), Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF), American Campus Communities (NYSE: ACC), American Medical Systems (Nasdaq: AMMD), Arch Capital Group (Nasdaq: ACGL), Barclays PLC (NYSE: BCS), Capella Education (Nasdaq: CPLA), Fiat S.p.A. (OTC: FIADF.PK), Flagstone Reinsurance (NYSE: FSR), FMC Technologies (NYSE: FTI), Fossil (Nasdaq: FOSL), Hatteras Financial (NYSE: HTS), Healthways (Nasdaq: HWAY), InnerWorkings (Nasdaq: INWK), Innospec (Nasdaq: IOSP), Jarden (NYSE: JAH), LECG Corp. (Nasdaq: XPRT), Meadowbrook Insurance Group (NYSE: MIG), Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK), Montpelier Re (NYSE: MRH), Nabors Industries (NYSE: NBR), Neutral Tandem (Nasdaq: TNDM), OTIX Global (Nasdaq: OTIX), Photronics (Nasdaq: PLAB), Qwest Communications (NYSE: Q), Ramco-Gershenson Properties (NYSE: RPT), Teva Pharmaceutical (Nasdaq: TEVA), The PMI Group (NYSE: PMI), Tucows (AMEX: TCX), Ultra Clean Holdings (Nasdaq: UCTT), Valmont Industries (NYSE: VMI), Valspar (NYSE: VAL), Waste Management (NYSE: WM), Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFMI), Winn-Dixie Stores (Nasdaq: WINN) and Zix Corp. (Nasdaq: ZIXI).

Wednesday

January's Housing Starts are due for reporting Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m. The First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit played havoc with Pending Home Sales and Housing Starts reports through fall. In December, the annual pace of Housing Starts was reported to be 557K, down 4.0% from November's revised pace of 580K. Starts were still 0.2% higher than the prior year period though.

Building Permits increased 10.9% in December, to 653K. This, and the extension and expansion of the tax credit imply better Housing Starts data over the next couple months. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg are looking for an increase in Starts activity, to an annual pace of 580K for January.

Import and Export Prices are due to be reported for the month of January at 8:30 a.m. December produced a rise in non-fuel import prices (+0.4%) that was hidden by a decline in fuel pricing (-1.4%). Non-fuel import prices have risen 0.4% in each of the last five months. Non-fuel import prices were up 0.4% for the whole of 2009 as well. Fuel imports saw a 61.4% increase in 2009, contrasting against the 47% drop the year before.

Export Prices increased 0.6% in December, after rising 0.9% in November. Agricultural goods prices surged 2.0% in December, while non-ag goods pricing advanced 0.5%.

Industrial Production is scheduled for 9:15 reporting. December's data showed gains in productivity and capacity utilization. Production improved 0.6% in both November and December. Capacity Utilization improved to 72% in December, up from 71.5% in November. While productivity generally improved, it fell again in construction, which lost another 2%. Economists forecast productivity will rise by 0.8% in January, while they see capacity utilization gaining to 72.6%.

The ICSC reports Weekly Same-Store Sales in the pre-market on Wednesday. Last week's report, covering the operating week of 2/6, showed sales gained 1.4% from the prior week's count and gained 1.8% against the prior year's tally.

At 2:00 p.m., the Federal Reserve will release its meeting minutes from January's gathering. Also at 2:00, look for the Treasury Budget for January. December's budget deficit of $91.9 billion was the largest on record for the month. Looking ahead, January's budget usually posts a surplus. Over the last five years, the surplus has dwindled though, to $0.4 billion on average. A deficit is likely for this past December, and economists are forecasting one of huge proportion (-$46 billion).

Based on a report last week, mortgage application activity eased in the week ending February 5. The Mortgage Bankers Association's Market Composite Index shed 1.2%, on a 7.0% decrease in Purchase activity. The Refinance Index gained 1.4%, as 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.94 percent from 5.01 percent the week before.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI) has its analysts' day. The EPS schedule includes Acergy (Nasdaq: ACGY), Advance Auto Parts (NYSE: AAP), Agnico-Eagle Mines (NYSE: AEM), Analog Devices (NYSE: ADI), BNP Paribus (Paris: BNP.PA), Brushed Engineered Materials (NYSE: BW), Calumet Specialty (Nasdaq: CLMT), Career Education (Nasdaq: CECO), Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK), Cimarex Energy (NYSE: XEC), Commercial Vehicle Group (Nasdaq: CVGI), Community Health Systems (NYSE: CYH), Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE), Devon Energy (NYSE: DVN), Donegal Group (Nasdaq: DGICA), Endurance Specialty Holding (NYSE: ENH), ExpressJet Holdings (NYSE: XJT), Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE: FRT), Fundtech Corp. (Nasdaq: FNDT), Genzyme (Nasdaq: GENZ), Glimcher Realty Trust (NYSE: GRT), Guidance Software (Nasdaq: GUID), Health Grades (Nasdaq: HGRD), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), Host Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: HST), IAMGOLD (NYSE: IAM), ING Groep (NYSE: ING), Investors Title (Nasdaq: ITIC), iRobot (Nasdaq: IRBT), Itron (Nasdaq: ITRI), Ituran Location & Control (Nasdaq: ITRN), Kinross Gold (NYSE: KGC), Kite Realty Group (NYSE: KRG), Koppers Holdings (NYSE: KOP), Martha Stewart Living (NYSE: MSO), NCI, Inc. (Nasdaq: NCIT), NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP), Newfield Exploration (NYSE: NFX), NICE Systems (Nasdaq: NICE), O’Reilly Automotive (Nasdaq: ORLY), Oceaneering International (NYSE: OII), OfficeMax (NYSE: OMX), Otelco (Nasdaq: OTT), Owens Corning (NYSE: OC), Platinum Underwriters Holdings (NYSE: PTP), Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN), Rimage Corp. (Nasdaq: RIMG), Rockwood Holdings (NYSE: ROC), Rogers Communications (NYSE: RCI), Sinclair Broadcast Group (Nasdaq: SBGI), Skechers (NYSE: SKX), Sovran Self Storage (NYSE: SSS) and Vital Images (Nasdaq: VTAL).

Thursday

The Producer Price Index keys the news wire on Thursday morning. Headline PPI increased 0.2% in December, while Core PPI saw no change. Looking ahead to January, economists forecast a 0.8% increase in the Headline figure on the month's increase in petroleum prices. Also, there is concern that freezing Florida temperatures pressured produce from the state. Core PPI is forecast to gain 0.1% in January.

Weekly Initial Jobless Claims are due at their usual 8:30 report. In the week ended February 6, initial jobless claims dropped by 43K, to 440K. Economists do not typically stray very far from prior week data on this regular point. Thus, they forecast this last week's tally of benefits filers also at 440K.

Leading Economic Indicators will be reported for the month of January at 10:00 a.m. After a 1.1% gain in LEI in December, economists see a smaller 0.5% gain in January. The Fed continues to play a big role in the LEI improvement, due to the low level of bank borrowing costs it has established. The spread between the overnight bank lending rate and 10-year Treasury Yield provides the lift. While I can agree with this data forecast for January, I worry about February and the next few months ahead.

A few days after the New York Fed's manufacturing data, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve reports its survey of manufacturing. The Philly Fed's General Business Conditions Index is seen improving to 17.0 in February, from 15.2 in January. Still, there have been signs of a slowing recovery, as the new orders index slipped two months in a row; the index moved from 13.1 in November to 8.3 in December and to 3.2 in January.

Because of the holiday, the EIA will report both its Petroleum Status Report and its Natural Gas Inventory on Thursday. Natural gas data will come due at 10:30. Working gas in storage decreased by 191 Bcf in the period ending February 5. Gas stocks stood only 114 Bcf above the five-year average for this time of year. Petroleum inventory will be reported at 11:00 a.m. Crude oil stores increased by 2.4 million barrels in the latest period.

Overseas, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) is expected to keep rates steady when it announces monetary policy again. President Obama is scheduled to meet with the Dalai Lama Thursday, defying Chinese pleas to cancel the meeting. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard will address a group at 9:00 a.m.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is hopeful a hearing on its settlement with authors works out favorably. ADP (NYSE: ADP) will meet with analysts, and look for earnings reports from ABB, Inc. (NYSE: ABB), Akzo Nobel (OTC: AKZOF.PK), Ameren (NYSE: AEE), Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA), Arbitron (NYSE: ARB), AuthenTec (Nasdaq: AUTH), Avista (NYSE: AVA), AXA SA (OTC: AXAHF.PK), Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX), Build A Bear Workshop (NYSE: BBW), Cabela's (NYSE: CAB), California Pizza Kitchen (Nasdaq: CPKI), CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS), Clearwater Paper (NYSE: CLW), CryoLife (NYSE: CRY), Daimler (NYSE: DAI), Developers Diversified Realty (NYSE: DDR), Eclipsys (Nasdaq: ECLP), Gen-Probe (Nasdaq: GPRO), Harleysville Group (Nasdaq: HGIC), Hittite Microwave (Nasdaq: HITT), Home Properties (NYSE: HME), Hormel Foods (NYSE: HRL), Ingram Micro (NYSE: IM), j2 Global Communications (Nasdaq: JCOM), K-Swiss (Nasdaq: KSWS), Key Energy Services (NYSE: KEG), Life Time Fitness (NYSE: LTM), Lumber Liquidators (NYSE: LL), Marchex (Nasdaq: MCHX), Morningstar (Nasdaq: MORN), Nanometrics (Nasdaq: NANO), Newpark Resources (NYSE: NR), NEXEN (NYSE: NXY), Noble Energy (NYSE: NBL), Occam Networks (Nasdaq: OCNW), OGE Energy (NYSE: OGE), Penn West Energy Trust (NYSE: PWE), PGT, Inc. (Nasdaq: PGTI), Pool Corp. (Nasdaq: POOL), Pride International (NYSE: PDE), PSE&G (NYSE: PEG), Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK), Reliance Steel & Aluminum (NYSE: RS), School Specialty (Nasdaq: SCHS), State Auto Financial (Nasdaq: STFC), Stewart Information Services (NYSE: STC), Swift Energy (NYSE: SFY), TC Pipelines (Nasdaq: TCLP), The Nasdaq OMX Group (Nasdaq: NDAQ), Universal American (NYSE: UAM), Validus Holdings (NYSE: VR), VASCO Data Security (Nasdaq: VDSI), VCA Antech (Nasdaq: WOOF), Vectren (NYSE: VVC), Ventas (NYSE: VTR), Veraz Networks (Nasdaq: VRAZ), Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT), Washington Real Estate Investment Trust (NYSE: WRE), WellCare Health Plans (NYSE: WCG), Williams Companies (NYSE: WMB), Williams Partners (NYSE: WPZ) and Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN).

Friday

Friday's key story will certainly be about the Consumer Price Index. Data for the month of January comes due for release by 8:30 a.m. Both Headline and Core CPI increased by 0.1% in December. The cost of shelter eased in December, muting modest increases in food and energy prices. Economists forecast a 0.3% Headline CPI rise in January and 0.1% increase when excluding food and energy prices.

Mexico's central bank is expected to keep rates steady. Nuclear energy executives are set to brief analysts at a New York City event. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) sits before a judge, as he rules on the settlement between BofA and the SEC with regard to its acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

Friday's corporate earnings schedule includes news from AMERIGROUP (NYSE: AGP), Brady Corp. (NYSE: BRC), Brookfield Asset Management (NYSE: BAM), Bucyrus International (Nasdaq: BUCY), Carrefour (OTC: CRERF.PK), Grupo Aeroportuario (NYSE: ASR), HMS Holdings (Nasdaq: HMSY), J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP), LIN TV (NYSE: TVL), PG&E (NYSE: PCG), Pinnacle West Capital (NYSE: PNW) and Trustco Bank (Nasdaq: TRST).

forum message board chat rooms week ahead
Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

global affairs, geopolitical

free email financial newsletter Bookmark and Share