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Stock Market Schedule May 3-7
This week's stock market schedule highlights the latest look at employment, with the government's reporting of its Employment Situation Report for April this Friday. The week's schedule also includes its share of earnings reports, along with fresh data on housing and manufacturing.
April Motor Vehicle Sales are due Monday, with economists seeing about the same level of activity as seen in March. The consensus forecast is set for an annual sales pace of 8.8 million vehicles domestically. Sales of US manufactured and imported vehicles rose to a rate of 11.8 million.
Personal Income and Spending data is due for the month of March Monday morning as well (8:30). Income, which came in flat in February, is seen rising 0.4% in March, based on Bloomberg's survey. Income is benefiting from increasing production activity and workweek expansion. Spending activity has been more robust, and month-over-month growth is forecast to mark 0.6% for March, versus the 0.4% increase recorded in February. The Core PCE Price Index should hold steady again, based on economists' views and similar CPI data.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) will produce its Manufacturing Index for April at 10:00 AM. Again, another data point looks to mark economic gains, with the index forecast to show robust economic expansion at a mark of 61.0; that compares against March's reading of 59.6. This level activity, well above the 50.0 threshold for economic expansion offers lift for investors. However, try to remember that while we are growing, it's off of small numbers. Also, manufacturing is far outweighed in significance in the US by service sector importance. In that regard, ISM's Non-manufacturing Index will reach the wire on Wednesday morning.
Construction Spending will be reported for March at 10:00 AM. Construction activity was super soft in February, as it was significantly impacted by weather. We've seen better New Home Sales of late, and so March's construction report should prove better than February's 1.3% decline. Economists forecast activity will still fall off in March, but by just 0.3%. While New Home Sales improved significantly, pent-up demand from February likely padded those numbers. That's not to mention that growth came off of a historically low level.
The stock market schedule has several markets closed on Monday, including those in Japan, China and Russia. The Japanese market will remain closed through Wednesday. In corporate news, Hyatt Hotels (NYSE: H) lockup period ends following restriction due to its IPO.
Several reports fall on Tuesday, including the usual data points. The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) reports weekly sales in the premarket. There is no forecast available, so we review the prior week's data for you here. For the week ended April 24, week-to-week sales improved by 0.2%, we believe on seasonal factors. Sales improved 5.5% over the prior year's deprived levels, and the same trend should continue in the weeks ahead. We have written in recent weekly copy that the economy hit panic level lows last winter/spring, and so economic comparables will be easy for a while.
March Factory Orders are up for report at 10:00 AM. February's report showed a 0.6% increase in order activity that benefited from aircraft demand. However, there were positive economic signs found in orders for machinery and also nondurables. Economists forecast a 0.1% decline in April order activity that should be hampered by aircraft. However, increasing fuel costs should drive growth in nondurables.
Pending Home Sales saw some improvement in February, as the National Association of Realtors index tracking the data showed an 8.2% increase. Pending Home Sales would be the metric that would show earliest benefit from the impetus provided by the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit. We mistakenly thought February would be too soon, especially given the state of the weather in the Northeastern US that month (3 blizzards). March data should continue to show gain, and the Chief economist of the NAR believes a second surge like the one seen last fall would eat up enough inventory to secure the pricing environment and definitively set a bottom for housing.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testifies before a Senate panel on the proposed Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee. You already know how we feel on this subject. It's one of the few financial reforms we stand against, due to its discriminatory taxation of the 50 largest banks in the nation, some of which are less guilty than others, and others of which have repaid their government debts.
In the IPO market, AmeriCold Realty Trust might price a 43 million share offering at $14 to $16. A reviving IPO market is a good sign, but we are not quite there yet. If markets keep rising though, it seems we will get there sooner rather than later. UBS (NYSE: UBS) will provide its first quarter outlook.
Wednesday starts the monthly employment report parade. The first metric due will be Challenger, Gray & Christmas' Job-Cut Report in the premarket. While new hiring announcements rose a bit, Challenger's tally of announced corporate layoffs surprised some by producing an increase of 67,611 in March. The US Postal Service played an important role in the month's losses.
ADP's last Private Employment Report produced the least number of jobs lost since the labor market began shedding jobs in February 2008. ADP said private employers shed a net of 23,000 jobs from February to March, versus 24K in the prior month. This metric seems sure to vary greatly from the government's report this time around, given census hiring that will not be found in ADP's data.
At 10:00 AM, ISM publishes its Non-Manufacturing Index. March's index gained sharply, adding 2.4 points to 55.4. Remember that a reading above 50 marks economic expansion and that the service sector is the more important sector of the American economy by far (versus manufacturing). New Order activity was strong last month, so April's Index is forecast to improve again to 56.4.
The Mortgage Bankers Association will publish its Mortgage Activity data in the early morning. Last week's data, which covered the period ended April 23, showed the Market Composite Index slipped 2.9%. Refi activity was the problem, as the Refinance Index fell 8.8%. Still, real estate enthusiasts found reason to be pleased, as the Purchase Index improved by 7.4%. Investors are most concerned about home purchases now, not mortgage adjustments, and so the data was viewed positively. Expect to see more of the same this week.
The EIA Petroleum Status Report is up at 10:30. Last week's report, covering the period ended April 23, showed a 1.9 million barrel increase in crude oil inventories and a 1.2 million barrel decrease in gasoline stores. Both commodity stocks stood above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.
The US Treasury announces its funding needs for the next two quarters at 9:00 AM. Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren gives an address to the Money Marketeers of New York University at 7:00 PM.
The British will decide on their next Prime Minister Thursday. It's a close race at the moment; too close to call.
More employment data floods the wire in the early going Thursday. Weekly Jobless Claims have stuck around current trend for quite some time. Last week's report, covering the period ended April 24, placed new unemployment claims at 448K, versus 459K the week before (revised). The four-week moving average still increased by 1,500, to 462,500. Economists expect the latest report to show new benefits filers numbered at 445K. Remember, this forecast is not important; rather week-to-week comparison carries the weight for stock traders.
Monster Worldwide (NYSE: MWW) produces its Monster Employment Index (MEI) monthly. The measure tallies online job demand, and it improved by a point in March, to 125, from 124. The MEI is up 11 points from January. While the Labor Market seems to be stuck in the mud, these measures are illustrating a less bad environment in some instances, and in this case, a better situation.
First Quarter Productivity data is due for report at 8:30 AM. GDP growth eased in Q1, to 3.2%, so the rate of productivity gain should likewise ease. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg see productivity rating at 2.6%, versus 6.9% in Q4. As productivity rises, Unit Labor Costs decrease. Unit Labor Costs are forecast to come down by 1.0% in Q1, versus 5.9% in Q4.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will address the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank's 46th Annual Conference on Bank Structure in the early morning. Former Treasury Chief Hank Paulson and Bear Stearns boss Jimmy Cayne will testify before the Financial Crisis Commission. Toyota Motors' (NYSE: TM) US sales chief will testify before a House subcommittee.
The EIA reports on Natural Gas Inventory at 10:30. Last week's data covering the period ended April 23 showed natural gas stores increased by 83 Bcf. Nat Gas inventory stood 303 Bcf above the five-year average for this time of year.
Individual retailers will report April Chain Store Sales throughout the day Thursday. Genzyme (Nasdaq: GENZ) meets with analysts, while Verizon (NYSE: VZ) holds its annual meeting. GE (NYSE: GE) CEO Jeffrey Immelt will speak to an audience at New York's 92nd Street YMCA. Questcor Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: QCOR) gets news from the FDA on its spasm treatment.
The Employment Situation Report headlines Friday, and the news is expected to be pretty good. Nonfarm Payrolls are forecast to increase by 200K, while the Unemployment Rate is expected to ease to 9.6% in April, from 9.7% in March. Census hiring is contributing to the change, but there is real improvement here as well. If unemployment sticks, however, or Nonfarm Payrolls falls short of March's 162K addition, the market should deflate. Average hourly earnings are seen improving by 0.2%.
Consumer Credit data is due for release at 3:00 PM. Credit had contracted steadily for months until recently, but after a short expansion contracted again in February by $11.5 billion. March is forecast to produce contraction of another $3.0 billion.
Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser will speak to the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce's Economic Outlook luncheon in Wilmington, Delaware at 11:30 AM.
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