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Taxes, Jobs, and Consumers: Advisor Briefing for the Week of July 26, 2010

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Now that President Obama has made financial services reform the law, implementation of the bill will keep regulators and lobbyists busy. One high-profile question: Who will lead the Consumer Financial Protection Agency? Elizabeth Warren, who came up with the idea of the CFPA, is a leading Administration candidate, but there are many who question the choice.

On July 16 we had the first congressional hearing on whether to allow the Bush-era EGTRRA and JGTRRA tax cuts to expire at year-end: the Administration is leaning toward letting them expire, with slight income modifications, while Republicans are gearing up to retain the cuts. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told two Sunday morning TV talk shows that one tax that has already expired this year–the estate tax–should be brought back; some lobbying groups have the opposite opinion.

As for market-moving news for the week, on Monday, July 26, officials from the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank visit Greece to assess the state of the Greek bailout, while at home we hear about new home sales from the Census Bureau. Speaking of bailouts, the editor of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page writes informatively of the continuing problems of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

On Tuesday, July 27, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index for May is released, along with July’s consumer confidence numbers from the Conference Board and the State Street Investor Index. The ICSC-Goldman Sachs retail sales report is released, while Deutsche Bank and BP (which will likely replace its CEO) announce their second-quarter earnings.

On Wednesday, July 28, the Federal Reserve announces its “Beige Book” report, while durable goods orders and earnings from Aetna are also scheduled to be released.

Thursday, July 29, brings weekly jobless claims, while the House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing on the effects of the stimulus on commercial real estate and jobs. Earnings due to be released that day come from Moody’s and MetLife.

On Friday, July 30, we hear about second-quarter GDP, and the University of Michigan/Reuters consumer sentiment report.