Stocks: Let the good times roll?
Monday, 06 February 2012 | 00:00
Stocks surged last week to their highest levels in years, but there are few key economic reports slated for the week ahead to sustain the rally.
The big news last week was Friday's report from the U.S. Labor Department, which showed a much larger-than-expected increase in hiring and a surprise drop in the unemployment rate.
Investors cheered the jobs data, which came on the heels of upbeat reports on auto sales, construction spending and manufacturing activity.
The Dow rose 1.6% last week, ending at its highest point since May 2008. The Nasdaq jumped 3.2% over the last five trading days, climbing to its highest level since December 2000, and the S&P 500 added 2.2%.
Next week, investors will take in reports on consumer sentiment and the nation's trade balance, both coming on Friday.
On the corporate front, Dow stocks Coca-Cola (KO, Fortune 500), Cisco (CSCO, Fortune 500) and Disney (DIS, Fortune 500) are scheduled to report quarterly results.
Given the lack of major economic reports next week and the market's recent strength, some analysts say stocks are vulnerable to a sell off.
"The market is definitely due for a pullback," said Keith Springer, president of Springer Financial Advisors in Sacramento, Calif. "But so many people have been waiting for one that it might not come until the market is much higher."
Meanwhile, the focus next week could shift back to the debt crisis in Europe, where talks in Greece over a debt write down and a second bailout appear to be coming to a head.
Concerns about a hard landing in China may also be top of mind next week, with reports due on consumer prices and foreign trade due out.
"Next week, I think the trade will continue to monitor the Greek debt restructuring, while watching the Chinese inflation and trade data," said Nick Kalivas, market strategist at Hadrian Partners.
Greece appears close to a deal with its private sector creditors to write down a portion of the nation's debts. The deal has been held up for weeks by disagreements over how much of a loss investors would voluntarily accept on Greek bonds.
Kiss QE3 hopes goodbye. And good riddance!
At the same time, there are concerns that political wrangling in Athens over more budget cuts could delay a second bailout, which is now expected to total €145 billion, up from the previously estimated €130 billion.
There is also widespread speculation that Greece will not meet its mandated fiscal targets unless its "official" creditors, such as the European Central bank, take part in the restructuring.
The ECB is expected to hold interest rates steady at its regularly scheduled policy meeting and press conference on Thursday.
Source: CNN Money