Sunday, February 27, 2005

Weekly Outlook

There are a number of important economic reports and some significant corporate earnings reports scheduled for release this week. Economic reports for the week include:

Mon. - Personal Income, Personal Spending, PCE Deflator, New Home Sales, Chicago Purchasing Manager
Tues. – Construction Spending, ISM Manufacturing/Prices Paid, Total Vehicle Sales
Thur. - Non-farm Productivity, Unit Labor Costs, Initial Jobless Claims, ISM Non-Manufacturing
Fri. - Unemployment Rate, Average Hourly Earnings, Change in Non-farm Payrolls, Average Weekly Hours, Univ. of Mich. Consumer Confidence, Factory Orders

Some of the more noteworthy companies that release quarterly earnings this week are:

Mon. -HJ Heinz(HNZ), Tiffany & Co.(TIF), Univision Communications(UVN)
Tues. - Marsh & McLennan(MMC), Pacific Sunwear(PSUN)
Wed. - American Eagle Outfitters(AEOS), Michaels Stores(MIK), Autozone(AZO), Chico's FAS(CHS), Costco Wholesale(COST), Hovnanian Enterprises(HOV), Liz Claiborne(LIZ), Petsmart(PETM)
Thur. - Neiman-Marcus Group(NMG/A), Saks Inc.(SKS)
Fri. - Mandalay Resort Group(MBG)

Other events that have market-moving potential this week include:

Mon. - CIBC Israeli Tech Conference, Bear Stearns Media Conference, Merrill Lynch Global Automotive Conference
Tue. - Banc of America Energy & Utilities Forum, Bear Stearns Media Conference, Prudential Semi/Equip. Conference, Fed's Lacker speaks, Fed's Moscow speaks, Fed's Santomero speaks, Wells Fargo HealthCare Conference
Wed. - CSFB Semi/Equip. Conference, Fed's Greenspan testifies before House Budget Committee
Thur. - CSFB Semi/Equip. Conference, CIBC Gaming/Lodging/Leisure/Travel Forum
Fri. - CSFB Semi/Equipment Conference, Fed's Moscow speaks

Bottom Line: I expect US stocks to finish the week modestly higher as strong earnings/economic reports and rebounding technology shares offset slightly higher long-term interest rates. The conferences this week and technical improvement should further spur interest in semiconductor/equipment shares. As well, I expect Retailers to outperform on robust earnings reports, stabilizing energy prices and a strong employment report. Homebuilders may take a breather as long-term rates rise. Moreover, the US dollar should gain modestly this week as rates increase, sentiment improves and US economic growth continues to outshine other industrialized nations. My short-term trading indicators are still giving mixed signals and the Portfolio is 100% net long heading into the week.