Monday, August 25, 2008

A Slow Week? Probably Not...

Usually, the week before Labor Day and Labor Day week are slow. There is still that long held notion that it is the end of the summer... But not this year...

This week looks to be busy with several financial data reports, and there are two political conventions over the next two weeks. The trading volume could be light though with some traders finishing up summer vacations.

The Democratic National Convention starts today and runs through Thursday, August 28. The Republican National Convention starts next Monday, September 1 (Labor Day) and runs through Thursday, September 4. While neither one of these are necessarily huge market moving stories, they both could have some impact.

We now know who Barack Obama has chosen for his running mate (Delaware Senator Joe Biden), but we do not know who John McCain will choose. The rumors are McCain will announce his running mate on Friday, August 29th, and try to shift the focus away from Obama and limit the traditional post convention "bounce". Since neither party told of their running mate until this past weekend and later this week, the markets could move this week and next based on how "Wall Street friendly" the running mates are perceived to be. The race for the White House is tied based on a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll conducted on Saturday and Sunday and released Sunday night with Obama and McCain both with 47%.

Housing will start the week with the July existing home sales report on Monday and the S&P Case-Shiller home price index and July new home sales report on Tuesday. Most analysts and investors are hoping that these reports show some stability or improvement versus prior reports. Also on Tuesday will be the latest consumer confidence report.

Wednesday has just one report with the durable goods orders.

Thursday will have the preliminary real GDP report for the 2nd quarter that is estimated at an annual rate of 2.7%. This will be much better than the first quarter 1.9% GDP. Most analysts expect the 2nd quarter number to be higher based on international trading figures that have helped boost the GDP. Also on Thursday will be the initial jobless claims report that could show any change in employment figures.

Friday has the consumer sentiment report and personal income report (a gauge of inflation for the Fed) along with a possible McCain running mate announcement. The consumer is the driver behind the market, so the two reports could start to show how consumer spending is holding up with back to school items and after the rebate checks. McCain's pick could have market implications, but it is hard to say when he will announce, so it may not be until after Labor Day that the market gets to react to the choice.

What should be two slow weeks on Wall Street looks to be anything but right now.

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