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Facebook IPO, retail sales, JPMorgan Chase

(MoneyWatch) Have you heard that Facebook is going public? The social networking giant is scheduled to start trading on the NASDAQ Friday under the symbol "FB." Last week, the company said the IPO price range would be $28 - $35 a share -- at the upper end, the company's valuation would be close to $100 billion, which would make it the biggest IPO for an American company.

Before you take the plunge, just know that you might be paying up. According to Morningstar via WSJ MarketBeat, at the midpoint of the range, Facebook would trade at approximately 60 times its 2012 earnings and free-cash-flow estimates -- and you don't even get a Zuckerberg hoodie for playing!

Before we get to Facebook, there will be data and earnings from the retail sector. Last week, we learned that Americans are more upbeat about the economy, but these reports will confirm whether or not those feelings converted to action at the cash register. Earnings reports from J.C. Penney, Home Depot, Saks, Target, Staples, Abercrombie & Fitch and the biggest of them all, Walmart, will detail where American are spending and what the future might hold.

There will continue to be more teeth-gnashing about JPMorgan's $2 billion trading loss. (For more, see "JPMorgan Chase: London Whale Swallows $2B". As noted, I believe that incident is a simple case of bad risk management, followed by an inability to cut losses quickly.)

There seems to be a lot of confusion around whether JPMorgan's London Whale trade would have been permitted under the Volcker Rule, which intends to prevent banks from trading for their own accounts, unless it is for hedging purposes. Attorneys at Davis Polk note that "It is crystal clear that macro or portfolio hedging is permitted under the statute." JPMorgan has said that this trade was indeed a broad hedge against macro economic risk, but one man's hedge might be another man's prop trade.

While the London Whale might not have been permitted under earlier versions of Volcker, much of the tougher text that Senators Merkley and Levin attempted to insert did not make it into the legislation as passed by Congress and the language was actually broadened during the legislative process. (The Economics of Contempt has handy red-lined versions of the text for your viewing pleasure!)

Banks lobbied hard to soften the language, saying that hedging is a core part of systemic safety and soundness. Ultimately, regulators agreed. The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) conducted a lengthy study on the Volcker Rule and said "[I]t is important to recognize that risk exposure is not synonymous with position or transaction: much hedging is done on a portfolio basis."

Investors were in no mood to debate the merits of Volcker, but were quick to pass judgment on JPMorgan Chase. Shares tumbled 9.3 percent to $36.96, $14.4 billion in market value. While stocks were down last week, don't blame the London Whale -- much of the damage occurred prior to the disclosure.

-- DJIA: 12,820, down 1.7% on week, up 4.9% on year (down 3% over last two weeks)

-- S&P 500: 1,353, down 1.1% on week, up 7.6% on year (down 3.5% over last two weeks)

-- NASDAQ: 2,933, down 0.7%, up 12.6% on year (down 4.4% over last two weeks)

-- June Crude Oil: $96.13, down 2.4% on week (down 8.4% over last two weeks)

-- June Gold: $1584.00, down 3.7% on the week (down 4.8% over last two weeks)

-- AAA National Average Price for Gallon of Regular Gas: $3.73


Mon 5/14:


Tues 5/15:

J.C. Penney, Home Depot, Saks

GDP reports from Greece, France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands

8:30 CPI

8:30 Retail sales

8:30 New York Fed Empire State survey

10:00 May NAHB homebuilder survey

Weds 5/16:

Target, Staples, Abercrombie & Fitch

7:00 MBA mortgage purchase applications index

8:30 Housing starts

8: 30 Building permits

9:15 Industrial production

10:00 MBA Q1 national delinquency survey

2:00 FOMC minutes, meeting of April 24-25

Thurs 5/17:

Walmart, Sears, Salesforce

8:30 Weekly jobless claims

10:00 May Philly Fed manufacturing survey

10:00 Leading economic indicators

Fri 5/18:

10:00 Regional and state employment and unemployment for April 2012