The week ahead

Despite the turkey-shortened week, there’s a fair amount on Wall Street’s calendar.

Male_north_american_turkey_supersaturatedToday at 10:00 we have existing home sales for October. The consensus estimate is for a 5.51 million seasonally adjusted rate, according to Calculated Risk.  September’s home starts were 5.55 million.

Bear in mind that the seasonal adjustments in colder areas in winter are fairly large. Two new home starts in Maine in late November would be two more than most people would expect.

Tomorrow is gross domestic product. We live in a big country with a big economy (about $18 trillion), and the Bureau of Economic Analysis usually takes three swipes at the number. The advance estimate for the third quarter, adjusted for inflation, was 1.5%. Tuesday’s release will be the second cut, and the consensus is for an improvement to a 2.1% annual rate, still below the 3.9% pace in the second quarter.

Keep an eye on the implicit price deflator, which is the Federal Reserve’s favorite inflation indicator. It was running at a 1.8% pace in the last release, just below the Fed’s 2% inflation target.

Also on deck Tuesday: The Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence. In this economy, confidence is everything. We won’t know the effects of the recent terror attacks in Paris until the next release, however.

Wednesday, initial jobless claims report for work at 8:30. The measure has been hitting 42-year lows and, at least judging by lines at airline ticket counters, low staffing is starting to affect company performance. Seriously, get to the airport early.

Also on Wednesday:

  • The University of Michigan weighs in with its own consumer confidence measure, which is expected to be unchanged from October.
  • New home sales roll in at 10:00 Wednesday, in case you’re bored making pies. Consensus is 499,000 for October, vs. 468,000 for September.
  • Finally, the Energy Information Administration weighs in with its petroleum inventory status, which is expected to show that, hey boy howdy, there’s a lot of petroleum on hand. The average price of gasoline hit $2.07 today, down from $2.82 a year ago and an all-time high of $4.11 per gallon on July 17, 2008.

Thursday and Friday: We’re done, unless you get excited about the Baker-Hughes rig count, which is actually pretty interesting. The markets are closed Thursday, as they should be, and the stock market calls it a day at 1:00 on Friday.

As for earnings: 478 companies in the Standard and Poor’s 500 stock index have reported third-quarter earnings so far, according to S&P Capital IQ. Thanks mainly to punk earnings in energy, S&P 500 earnings are down 1.48% from last year

On deck this week: Tysons Foods (estimated at 88 cents per share), HP (97 cents) and Deere (75 cents).

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