Congress & Spending, Fed & Budget, and Jobs: Advisor Briefing for Week of Jan. 3, 2011

It’s called January for good reason. Like the Roman god for whom the month is named, the new year has advisors and their clients looking back—to the healthy growth shown in 2010 by the major stock indexes, for instance—and ahead to what 2011 may bring in terms of the market and the economy (see AdvisorOne’s ongoing compilation called Outlook 2011 for prognostications on what the new year will bring, by sector and advisor interest).

The Congress comes back to work this week, with the 435 members of the House and 100 members of the Senate convening for the 112th Congress—expect some high-profile flexing of the Republicans’ newfound legislative muscle in the House early, but little in terms of actual legislation, though we’ll get some signs this week from the new leadership in the House of what the GOP’s mission will be.

As for market-moving news, we get readings on all the key signals on economic health: manufacturing early in the week, auto and retail sales, the minutes of the Dec. 14 FOMC meeting, and a quartet of reports on employment, culminating in the business-week’s end with the December unemployment report on Friday. That same day, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to testify before the Senate Budget Committee.

Key movers on Monday, Jan. 3, include the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index for December, and the Commerce Dept.’s release of November construction spending.

On Tuesday, Jan. 4, the Federal Reserve releases the minutes of the FOMC’s Dec. 14 meeting. Economic reports include the release of December vehicle sales and November factory orders. President Obama returns to Washington from his vacation, and the new incoming majority leader of the House, Eric Cantor (R, Va.), holds a press conference at which he is expected to reveal the schedule for the remainder of the week and provide some signs of the Republicans’ congressional strategy.

Wednesday, Jan. 5, marks the convening of the 112th Congress of the United States, with John Boehner (R, Ohio) assuming the Speaker’s role from Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the release in the morning of three reports: the Challenger, Gray & Christmas Job-Cut Report and the ADP Employment Report, and the Dept. of Energy’s EIA petroleum status report (see S&P senior financial writer Vaughan Scully’s article on energy ETFs in 2011 on AdvisorOne).

The ISM releases its Non-Manufacturing Index for December, and thousands will gather in Las Vegas for the opening speech of the Consumer Electronics Show.

Thursday, Jan. 6, will bring release of unemployment insurance claims for the week ending Dec. 31, 2010, while retailers release the numbers for same-store sales for December.

The business week ends Friday, Jan. 7, with the Labor Dept’s release of the monthly employment picture for December 2010, along with the Fed’s release of consumer credit data for November. Bernanke is slated to testify before Senate Budget Committee.

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