Elections, Speeches, GDP and Lehman: Advisor Briefing for the Week of August 23, 2010

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It may be the tail end of summer, but there are many potential market moving events taking place this week, including primary elections in Arizona, Florida, and West Virginia. On Monday, the $11 billion Lehman Brothers-Barclays suit resumes in New York bankruptcy court. The end of the week brings a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at the Jackson Hole economic summit on Friday, August 27. Also on Friday come the revised second quarter GDP figures from the U.S. (Germany and the U.K. are set to announce their Q2 GDP numbers this week as well). Congress is still avoiding the Washington heat, but in Kansas, a House financial services committee is holding hearings on Midwestern banking.

Looking back at last week, the New York Times discovered that investors have moved money out of stocks and into bonds, citing Investment Company Institute figures. Our regular Sunday news mash-up discusses the concerns of Jeremy Siegel and others that we're in the middle of a bond bubble.

On the subject of bonds, Greece successfully sold EUR5 billion worth of 10-year bonds on August 19 with a yield of 6.25%, the same day that the state of New Jersey's bond issue was oversubscribed. That was just a day after the state settled a suit brought by the SEC against it on underfunding its pension plan.

You might find a New York Times story on the correlation between income inequality and financial crises interesting. While we're reviewing the liberal elite East Cost major media, a revealing infographic from the Washington Post shows the impact to the government and taxpayers of three ways to deal with the expiring Bush Administration tax cuts.

The week begins on Monday, August 23 with the resumption in a New York bankruptcy court of Lehman Brothers Holdings' $11 billion lawsuit against Barclays PLC over the British bank's purchase of Lehman's brokerage assets in September 2008. While Congress is officially in recess, the House Financial Services Committee's subcommittee on Oversights and Investigations begins a two-day hearing in Overland Park, Kansas, called "Too Big Has Failed: Learning from Midwest Banks and Credit Unions." Witnesses on Monday include Thomas Hoenig, president of the Kansas City Fed.

On Tuesday, August 24 comes the second day of subcommittee hearings (in Lawrence, Kansas), this one dubbed "Empowering Consumers: Can Financial Literacy Education Prevent Another Financial Crisis?" This is also the first big day of primary elections across the country, including balloting in Arizona and Florida.

Germany releases it final GDP numbers for the second quarter, while back home we hear about the ICSC-Goldman Sachs retail sales report and existing home sales from the National Association of Realtors.

The SEC is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, August 25 to vote on a rule that would allow investors to nominate corporate board members by proxy, which it has been discussing since 2003. On the same day, the government will release the durable goods orders and new home sales reports.

On Thursday, August 26 we learn of new weekly jobless claims.

The business week ends Friday, August 27 with revised second-quarter GDP-- a downward revision from 2.4% to 1.4% is widely anticipated--along with a report on corporate profits, and the University of Michigan/Reuters consumer sentiment report.. That's also the day when Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks before the Kansas City Fed's Economic Summit in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The Southern Governors' Association begins its 76th annual meeting in Alabama on Friday as well. During the three-day gathering that formally begins on the 28th, the emphasis will be on trade and manufacturing opportunities between China and the South.

On Saturday August 28, West Virginia holds its Senate primary to pick candidates in the race to succeed the late Senator Robert Byrd., while on Sunday, August 29, President Obama visits New Orleans for a speech marking the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

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