Has Wall Street hit bottom yet? Like that singularly annoying yet unforgettable Lipton TV ad, "Is it Soup Yet?" I keep asking myself, have we hit bottom yet? So it's a topic we can have fun debating in this space until the economy and stock market turn around, be it months or years from now.
This coming week isn't expected to be pretty, but then again, nothing ever goes quite as expected with an economy in meltdown mode. CNNMoney.com says investors will face a torrent of bad economic news this week, but have they already factored this into their strategies, and will Wall Street remain, as it usually is, six months ahead of the economy?
Here's a sampling of government and corporate earnings reports due out this week, also courtesy of CNNMoney.com:
Monday: The NY Empire State index, a regional manufacturing report, is expected to slump to negative 26 in November from negative 24.6 last month. Any negative reading shows weakness.
Tuesday: The Producer Price Index (PPI), a measure of wholesale inflation, is expected to have fallen 1.5% in October after falling 0.4% in the previous month. Core PPI, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, is expected to have risen 0.2% after rising 0.4% in the previous month.
Wednesday: The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of consumer inflation, is expected to have fallen 0.8% versus a flat reading in September. October Core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, is expected to have risen 0.2% after edging up 0.1% in the previous month.
Housing starts are expected to have fallen to an annual rate of 780,000 in October from a 17-year low of 817,000 in September. Building permits are expected to have stumbled to an annual rate of 770,000 in October from a rate of 805,000 in October.
Wednesday also brings the release of the minutes from the last Federal Reserve policy meeting in October.
Thursday: The October index of leading economic indicators (LEI) is expected to have dropped 0.6% after rising 0.3% in September.
Also Thursday, the Philadelphia Fed index, a regional manufacturing report, is expected to have improved slightly to a reading of negative 30 in November from negative 37.5 in October.
A number of retailers report results this week, including rivals Lowe's and Home Depot. All forecasts are according to a consensus of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
Of course, with projected corporate earnings already expected to land somewhere between Antarctica and 500 feet below Earth's surface, if they even reach as high as 400 feet below ground, Wall Street will see bad news as good news. So strap in, as they say, and have your looking glass handy. If stocks boomerang irrationally, you'll understand why.
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By Bonnie Erbe