GDP and the Euro, Housing and Retail Sales—and Tryptophan: Advisor Briefing for the Week of Nov. 22, 2010

In a Thanksgiving holiday-shortened week, some economic reports have been moved up on the schedule, but in addition to closely watching retail sales on Black Friday (and e-commerce sales, which already are showing healthy growth), the markets will digest reports on third-quarter GDP and a host of measures of housing’s health.

The Fed releases minutes of its meeting earlier this month that added QE2 to the economic lexicon, while the European drama continues with Ireland’s acceptance of a EU-IMF bailout over the weekend, ahead of Portgual’s attempt at budgetary austerity at week’s end.

The big news over the pre-Thanskgiving weekend was that Ireland had bowed to its fellow Europeans’ invitation to request (and accept) a bailout plan valued at some $110 billion; whether the move is enough to save the euro remains an open question (see an interview on the topic with James Dailey of TEAM Financial).

On Monday, Nov. 22, the Chicago Federal Reserve releases its national activity index for October, and while some shoppers are already hyperventilating over the bargains to be found on Black Friday, the Census Bureau has already released figures showing that e-commerce sales amounted to $41.5 billion in the third quarter, up 15% from the recession’s beginning in 2007, and up 4% from the second quarter of 2010.

On Tuesday, Nov. 23, the Financial Stability Oversight Council meets in Washington, following up on its debut meeting on Oct. 1. Economic reports scheduled include the first revision of third-quarter GDP; and existing home sales from the National Association of Realtors; The Fed releases minutes of its November FOMC meeting, at which the governors agreed to a second round of quantitative easing. One of the first entries in the fourth-quarter earnings season comes with a scheduled report from Eaton-Vance.

Market-moving reports due on Wednesday, Nov. 24 include the Census Bureau’s report on new home sales in October, along with personal income and spending and durable goods orders; The University of Michigan/Reuters releases its final sounding of consumer sentiment for November.

On Thursday, Nov. 25, all U.S. financial markets are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday (the staff of AdvisorOne.com will take off as well); foreign markets are open. In one sign that the American dream is alive and well, a record 15 million people entered the U.S. State Dept.’s “diversity visa program,” a lottery that awards green cards for 50,000 winners, in the annual program that closed Nov. 3. In 2005, only 5.5 million entries were received. Happy Thanksgiving.

On Black Friday, Nov. 26, many shoppers will be busy—though some retailers are starting the excitement on Thanksgiving night. With the Irish government accepting a bailout from the EU and the IMF over the weekend of Nov. 20-21, Portugal now takes center stage in the continuing PIIGS melodrama as the Portuguese parliament expects to debate and vote on a final budget for the country for 2011. The populace was slated to show its support for austerity with a general strike scheduled for Wednesday.

The U.S. stock markets close at 1:00 P.M. on Nov. 26; the bond markets at 2:00.

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