There’s much speculation about the internet regarding the date 11/11/11 and doomsday. It’s not like we needed a curious number to forecast catastrophe these days. Nor is Comet Elenin or its tail, or Asteroid 2005 YU55’s November 8 near brushing, nor the apparent surge in earthquake and volcanic activity, nor the New Madrid fault line fear, nor the unprecedented national Emergency Broadcast System test set for November 9, nor a conspicuous apocalyptic alignment of planets and constellations required for one to adopt a pessimistic posture this month. That’s the stuff of Hollywood! The stuff of Wall Street and Washington is much scarier these days, if not entertaining. And the foreign film section of this last video store to close its doors includes a Greek tragedy to boot.
The Week of 11/11/11
Europe takes center stage again, as euro-zone finance ministers convene to work out issues with Greece, Italy… throw a dart. Meanwhile, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble will take part in a seminar on the crisis in Finland. Keeping with overseas matters, the Swiss Central Bank will report its monetary policy, with some expecting the bank to cut its ceiling for the franc. Markets are closed in many Muslim countries for much of the week. At some point during the week, China will report on its trade balance.
Back home, the U.S. Federal Reserve publishes its senior loan survey. Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren addresses the New England Works Conference. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Schapiro speaks to Sifma regarding the impact and effects of financial reform.
At 3:00 PM ET, the Fed will release the latest consumer credit data. Last month’s report for the month of August showed consumer credit contracted for the first time in nine months, dropping by $9.5 billion. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg see September’s credit expanding by $5.0 billion.
On the corporate front, the IPO lockup period ends for Phoenix New Media (Nasdaq: FENG). The CLSA Asia Forum begins Monday. The NYSE Euronext (NYSE: NYX) convenes with European regulators regarding its Deutsche Boerse merger. Look for analyst meetings at Altera (Nasdaq: ALTR) and Polycom (Nasdaq: PLCM).
It’s Election Day in the U.S. It is also the day Asteroid 2005 YU 55, which about 1,300 feet in diameter, will pass closer to the earth than the moon. The passing will occur around 6:28 PM ET. Investors should hardly notice though. They’ll be fixated upon the latest extinction level event, or rather economic data.
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index is up for monthly reporting Tuesday. Last month’s data showed small business confidence stabilized a bit, with the index rising 0.8%, to 88.9 in October. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg see confidence improving again in November, to 89.3. Last month’s result ended a six-month slide in confidence. Though, the economists’ range of expectations for this November spans widely from 88.0 to 90.2. Given the deterioration we’ve seen in consumer confidence, I’m leaning toward a negative move this month.
Weekly same-store sales, as measured by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), recovered last week by 0.7%, but that simply offset the prior week’s decline of 0.8%. On an annual basis, sales rose 3.0% for the week ending October 29.
A couple of Fed speakers address groups Tuesday, with Narayana Kocherlakota and Charles Plosser speaking. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) holds a round table on uncertainty in financial statements. Meanwhile, the New York Society of Security Analysts is having a commodities forum.
All eyes will be on Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke Wednesday morning, as he addresses the Fed’s “Conference on Small Business and Entrepreneurship during an Economic Recovery.” Perhaps they should rename the conference, though, to “… an economic delusion.” In any event, the discussion should prove interesting, considering its following of the NFIB data and the previous week’s Fed forecast. You’ll recall the aforementioned “economic recovery” was adjusted to a “slow slug” within it.
We’ll receive important data from China Wednesday, with the emerging nation reporting on CPI, PPI, retail sales and industrial production. OPEC publishes its monthly oil market report Wednesday, the same day the EIA produces its weekly Petroleum Status Report.
At 10:00 AM, look for the Wholesale Trade data for the month of September. Last month’s report showed August sales rose 1.0%, while inventories increased by 0.4%. That led to a slight improvement in the inventory-to-sales ratio, which sat at 1.16 in August, versus 1.17 in the prior year period.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports on weekly mortgage activity in the premarket. Last week’s report covering the period ending October 28 showed the Market Composite Index of activity increased 0.2%. Mortgage rates were about unchanged, so Refinance Activity decreased 0.2%. Purchase Activity increased by 1.8%, though such a significant increase could have a one-time driving factor. We’ll determine that via close study of this week’s results.
A U.S. District Court Judge will hear from Citigroup (NYSE: C) and the SEC regarding their $285 million settlement relative to mortgage backed securities. Look for Chesapeake Granite Wash Trust to price shares at $21 in its offering. There will be analyst meetings at Alcoa (NYSE: AA), Adobe Systems (Nasdaq: ADBE), Orbitz (NYSE: OWW), Hasbro (Nasdaq: HAS) and Cypress Semiconductor (Nasdaq: CY).
We will receive two important trade metrics before the market opens Thursday. International Trade data is due for September. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg see the trade deficit expanding to $46.3 billion. October Import and Export Prices are also due for 8:30 AM release. September’s data had import prices up 0.3%, but economists expect a decrease of 0.2% in October. Export prices advanced 0.4% in September after increasing 0.5% the month before.
Weekly Jobless Claims dipped below 400K last week to 397K, so this week’s report will draw some interest. Economists expect the result to be right around 400K, based on Bloomberg’s survey.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index is up for its weekly report at 9:45 AM ET. Last week’s report took the consumer sentiment measure to its second lowest point in history, as it marked minus 53.2. There’s little reason for more hope this week’s report, unless the most recent mark stepped on an important plateau. The index has now held below minus 50 for six weeks, and that did not even occur at the depths of the Great Recession.
The U.S. Treasury Budget for October is due for 2:00 PM release Thursday. September’s report saw a treasury deficit of $64.6 billion. Economists see an expansion of the deficit to $111.0 billion for October.
Chicago Fed Bank President Charles Evans keynotes the Chicago Fed’s International Banking Conference. The Bank of England issues its monetary policy statement Thursday, with rates likely to remain unchanged as a result. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is holding a conference on monetary policy. Portugal begins parliamentary discussion on its budget for 2012.
The EIA’s Natural Gas Report is due for release at 10:30 AM ET. Last week’s data showed natural gas inventory increased last week again, and was 39 Bcf above the five-year average for this time of year.
The corporate wire has News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA) Deputy Chief Operating Officer James Murdoch appearing before the British Parliament, explaining about the company’s alleged phone hacking. Analyst meetings are scheduled at Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX), Tupperware (NYSE: TUP), Merck (NYSE: MRK) and Monsanto (NYSE: MON).
It’s Veteran’s Day and November 11, 2011, which is 11/11/11. The bond market will be closed, but economic data reaches the wire and equity markets are open. The University of Michigan/Reuters Consumer Sentiment Index will be reported at 9:55 AM ET. The final reading of the index for October set the index at a mark of 60.9. This preliminary measure for November is seen improving to 61.5, according to the consensus forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen and San Francisco Fed President John C. Williams are set to speak Friday.
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