Last week the Standard & Poor’s 500 finished at 1256.77 … reclaiming the level it held before the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Perhaps the markets have moved a bit too far too fast, but we see the markets moving higher after a brief respite that is long overdue.
The week ahead should be fairly quiet due to a lot of traders and investors on vacation and the New England blizzard. The S&P/Case Shiller report on Tuesday will likely disappoint due to cash-strapped consumers pulling back major purchases.
Best wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year!
Last week equity markets continued their rally with the DJIA advancing 0.72%. This week look for final revisions to 3rd quarter GDP and a final reading on consumer confidence for December from the University of Michigan. Both should continue to show modest improvement. Looking forward to next year most economic forecasters have been raising their estimates for GDP growth due to passage of legislation extending the Bush tax cuts.
Glass is half full for U.S. stocks – our markets continue to rally as investors respond to the prospect of a tax deal approval. The deal will be positive for all income brackets and is being reflected in improving consumer confidence. Lurking in the background, however, are whiffs of inflation in our energy and food prices and concerns about inflation in China. Interest rates have been edging back up as well. For now we’ll enjoy the historical pattern of rising stock prices in December and January.
Equity markets are still digesting last week’s major news out of Europe, conflicts with North/South Korea and our weaker than anticipated jobs number. This week we should get some clarity on the Bush tax cuts. We are in the camp that the tax cuts will be extended (most likely for all income levels or letting the tax cuts expire for income levels above $500k or $1million) with a compromise in extending jobless benefits. Otherwise we will keep our eyes open for updates regarding the following:
The state of the consumer
Consumer Credit, Tuesday @ 3pm
Jobless Claims, Thursday @830am
Consumer Sentiment, Friday @ 955am
Oil Inventories, Wednesday @ 1030am
Natural Gas Inventories, Thursday @1030am
International Trade, Friday @ 830am
Money Supply, Thursday @ 430pm
Import and Export Prices, Friday @ 830am