Our Week Ahead article lists economic report releases, important government speakers, noteworthy economic events and conferences, significant global happenings and key corporate earnings reports and events. This latest weekly business calendar should serve as a solid reference point to prepare for the week's news flow.
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Weekly Business Calendar
A business news calendar light of economic reports should allow a sweet easing into the week. The New America Foundation kicks off its two-day forum on overhauling the Federal Reserve. The CFA Institute convenes its annual conference in Edinburgh. LexisNexis publishes a report showing which states have the highest levels of mortgage fraud.
The United States and China are meeting to discuss a myriad of topics. The bilateral discussions begin Monday and run through Tuesday. Markets will be closed in Israel and Russia Monday.
The U.S. and China will have a news conference to discuss the progress and results of their Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
Five lower profile economic data points reach the wire Tuesday. Before the bell rings, we’ll hear from the NFIB, as the small business organization publishes its Small Business Optimism Index. The last reading of the index, covering March, showed a decline in small business owner sentiment. The index fell to 91.9, from 94.5 the month before. We’re not expecting the reading to improve much this week, given gasoline prices just touched $4.
At 8:30, look for the latest tally of change in Import and Export Prices. This April measurement follows March’s indication of 1.5% month-over-month export price increase and 2.7% import price rise. While commodities have slumped over the past week, we’ll see none of that evidenced in this April measurement.
Before the bell, look for the latest weekly retail same-store sales data from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Redbook. Last week’s data covered the period ending April 30. ICSC noted a week-over-week sales decline of 0.8%. ICSC’s measure of year-to-year change showed 2.8% growth, while Redbook’s measure of the same period showed a 5.5% increase.
At 10:00 AM ET, we’ll receive the latest Wholesale Trade data for the month of March. February’s report showed Wholesale Inventories rose 1.0%, but that compared poorly to the 0.8% decline in sales through the period. Thus, the inventory-to-sales ratio deteriorated to 1.16, though that was still relatively strong on a historical basis. We believe much of the drop in sales across verticals was the result of poor weather and global uncertainty. The consensus for March’s wholesale inventories is for a like 1.0% increase; we suspect sales will show increase as well.
Two Fed speakers find microphones Tuesday, including Elizabeth Duke in the morning and Jeffrey Lacker during the lunch hour.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is holding a talk on money-market funds and systemic risks. The Senate Banking Committee takes a look at the last report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. I suppose this means to say it’s officially safe to trust people again until the next drubbing?
Markets are closed in Hong Kong, South Korea and Israel Tuesday. In the States, catch shareholder and analyst meetings at Jack Henry (Nasdaq: JKHY), Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) and Progress Software (Nasdaq: PRGS). RLJ Lodging Trust and Kosmos Energy are expected to price their IPOs.
Wednesday again should be characterized by corporate news drivers and perhaps commodities and international news flow. As far as economic data flow goes, look for the monthly International Trade data at 8:30 AM ET. The trade gap narrowed a bit in February, to a deficit of $45.8 billion. The economists’ consensus for March is for the gap to widen to $47.7 billion.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will publish its Weekly Mortgage Applications data in the premarket. Last week’s data covering the period ending April 29 showed mortgage applications increased 4.0% over the prior week period. Growth was tied to increased refinancing activity, as the Refinance Index rose 6.0%, while mortgage applications tied to home purchases edged up 0.3%.
The weekly Petroleum Status Report is up for release at 10:30 AM ET. Last week’s report covering the period ending April 29 showed crude oil inventory increased by 3.4 million barrels, while gasoline stores declined by 1.0 million barrel. While oil inventory was above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year, gasoline measured slightly under the lower limit of the average range. And so, gas prices topped $4 just days ago.
Three Fed speakers are scheduled to find audiences at lunch on Wednesday: Narayana Kocherlakota, Dennis Lockhart and Sandra Pianalto. A senate panel takes a look at the AT&T (NYSE: T), T-Mobile merger.
At 2:00 PM, catch the latest monthly Treasury Budget release. This is actually covered by the press these days, given the political jawboning around the budget deficit and debt ceiling. The report for March showed an expansive deficit of $188.2 billion for the month. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg see a deficit of $65 billion in April. The range of forecasts is quite wide though, reaching from a deficit of $75 billion to $16.5 billion.
Overseas, you might want to keep one eye on the Arab League’s annual get-together. Israel has got to be pleased that it’s not the center of attention at this year’s gathering.
The corporate wire is heavy on hump-day. HSBC (NYSE: HBC) is expected to announce a strategic reorganization at its investor meeting. Other meetings are planned at Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Talisman Energy (NYSE: TLM), Computer Sciences (NYSE: CSC) and Lexmark (NYSE: LXK). FriendFinder Networks is planning to list its IPO Wednesday. Dow Jones has something in the works with regard to its Industrial Average, as its 115th anniversary approaches.
The economic heat intensifies Thursday and through Friday, with several key economic releases. Three important data-points hit the wire at 8:30, with the Producer Price Index, Retail Sales and Jobless Claims reports simultaneous release.
April’s Retail Sales data follows March’s 0.4% growth and 0.8% increase when excluding autos. It was a surprisingly solid report, and when combined with the revision to 1.1% overall growth for February, it surprised the market. April should get a lift from Easter, and economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast a 0.6% increase through the month, and the same rate of growth when excluding autos. I’m not so sure folks, as we’re due for a disappointment here, even despite Easter. Gasoline prices have not shown mercy to Americans through the holy period.
The Producer Price Index (PPI) for April should reflect the rising commodity prices that dominated the month. Economists are looking for an increase of 0.6% for the Headline PPI, following a 0.7% increase in February. This month’s driver should be energy, where last month’s was food. Core PPI, which excludes food and energy, still implied inflation, as it rose 0.3%. Economists forecast Core PPI data will show an increase of 0.2% in April.
Weekly Jobless Claims spiked up to 474K last week, and the government blamed it on anomalous factors. We didn’t agree, and find our report at the blog. Look for the latest data at 8:30. The economists’ consensus is for 430K, but because the reports are so regular, these figures usually just reflect the prior weeks’ results. Therefore, they almost never catch significant changes like we saw last week.
Following Wholesale Trade data, we get Business Inventories Thursday at 10:00 AM ET. Economists are looking for a 0.8% increase in March, versus the 0.5% rise seen in February. Again, the problem was that sales did not keep pace with inventories in February, rising 0.2% for Manufacturers and Trade Companies.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before the Senate Banking Committee on Dodd-Frank reform implementation. The Fed Chairman will be in good company, joined by FDIC Chair Sheila Bair, SEC Chair Mary Schapiro, CFTC Chair Gary Gensler, and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin. Separately, Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser makes an early morning presentation on the economic outlook.
The EIA reports on Natural Gas at 10:30 AM ET each Thursday. Last week’s report covering the period ending April 29 showed a net increase of 72 Bcf. Natural gas inventory was 226 Bcf less than last year at this time and 17 Bcf below the 5-year average of 1,774 Bcf.
Following PPI, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is set for release at 8:30 AM ET Friday. After an increase to Headline CPI marking 0.5% in March, April’s data is expected by economists to show a 0.4% rise. Excluding food and energy, the Core CPI is seen increasing 0.1%, like in March. We’re looking for +0.2% to become the norm this year.
The Reuters/ University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index is seen increasing slightly to 70.0, up from late April’s 69.8 mark. That’s clearly not a significant change and would continue to reflect a weak absolute level of consumer confidence.
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