Holiday Retail Sales and Jobs, Housing and Spanish-Accented Euro Jitters: Advisor Briefing for the Week of Nov. 29, 2010

The holiday-shortened business week of Thanksgiving ended with what appeared to be strong retail sales on Black Friday and the Portuguese Parliament approving an austere 2011 budget on Nov. 26. This week brings more retail news, including Cyber Monday, which is expected to continue to account for a larger percentage of overall holiday sales, along with key reports on housing and, at week’s end, the jobs picture for November. In Europe, following approval of the Irish bailout plan Nov. 28, concern is being raised over Spain’s debt woes, though the government has taken severe austerity steps already to trim debt as a percentage of GDP.

In a reminder that it’s not just Europe that has debt and budget issues, on Monday, Nov. 29, the New York Assembly will meet to address the state’s budget deficit. Also on Monday, we get the first reports on sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday occurs--the National Retail Federation reports that 88% of retailers are sponsoring online promotions for the day. Both the Senate and the House are scheduled to meet; pressing agenda items before the next holiday recess include a continuing resolution on the budget and talks on the sunsetting Bush-era tax cuts. In Europe, the EU Commission releases its 2010-2011 economic forecast.

On Tuesday, Nov. 30, comes retail sales reports from Redbook and the ICSC/Goldman Sachs Chain Store Sales reports. The ISM releases its monthly PMI report, while two assessments of consumer sentiment are released: the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, and the State Street Investor Confidence Index. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index is also released. In Washington, the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee marks up S. 3967, a bill meant to “encourage investment in and innovation by small business concerns.”

President Obama is scheduled to meet with congressional leaders, including the next Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky). Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke meets with business leaders, including the heads of IBM and GM, at The Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business in Columbus, OH

The month begins on Wednesday, Dec. 1, with the release of more reports on the economy in general and the housing market in particular. Automakers will announce their sales for November, productivity and costs from the Dept. of Labor, construction spending, the ISM Manufacturing Index, the Fed’s Beige Book, the Challenger, Gray & Christmas Job-Cut Report and the ADP Employment Report, and the Mortgage Bankers Association’s release of mortgage purchase applications. In Brussels, the European Union’s Budget Committee meets on the EU’s own budget. 

At home, Dec. 1 is the deadline for a final report from the Obama deficit commission, led by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, while the CFTC holds its sixth public hearing on proposed rulemakings under Dodd-Frank.

Thursday, Dec. 2, brings weekly first-time unemployment insurance claims, chain store sales, and the Monster Employment Index. The European Central Bank (ECB) holds a monetary policy meeting and publicly explains its decision.

The business week ends on Friday, Dec. 3, with release of the November employment picture from the Dept. of Labor, along with October factory orders and the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index for November.

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