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G20, Small Biz and Consumer Sentiment: Advisor Briefing for the Week of Nov. 8, 2010

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Following last week’s double whammy of voting by the U.S. populace and quantitative easing by the Fed, this holiday-shortened week for some markets brings a breather, though expect headlines in the runup to the G20 meeting on Saturday in Japan, and from President Barack Obama’s Asia trip. Also on tap: a raft of reports on retail sales, trade, and consumer and business sentiment, and the last of the major third-quarter earnings reports. Oh, and the lame-duck 110th Congress returns to Washington.

Over the weekend, Obama, visiting India (before traveling to Indonesia, South Korea and Japan) on what was touted as a jobs and trade mission, telegraphed that he was willing to compromise with the current Congress (and the coming GOP-dominated 111th Congress) on the sunsetting Bush-era tax cuts. Appearing Sunday night on “60 Minutes,” Obama told Steve Kroft that there was now "a basis for a conversation" over extending the Bush cuts.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was in Kyoto, Japan, for the meeting of the APEC Finance Ministers on Saturday. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Geithner responded to emerging-market finance ministers’ concerns that too much cash was flowing into their countries by saying the development was in many respects "very positive" for those economies. "There are risks and challenges with that,” Geithner said, “but most countries would trade those challenges for any of the challenges that we've faced over the last three years."

There are numerous postmortems on the midterm election. One of the more interesting ones is an Op-Ed by Jonathan Rauch of National Journal and the Brookings Institution in Sunday’s New York Times. His take: The American public strongly prefers a government where power is divided between the two parties, and he, argues, the public is smart to prefer divided government.

Monday, Nov. 8, brings day one (conflict-of-interest warning!) of the Investment Advisory Group’s third annual two-day Retirement Income Symposium (RIS) in Chicago, featuring sessions with Mark Tibergien of Pershing Advisor Solutions and Mike Henkel of Envestnet/PMC, Susan Hirshman and Mark Cortazzo.

Tuesday, Nov. 9, is marked by the release of the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, the Redbook retail report and the ICSC-Goldman Sachs same store sales report, and the October wholesale trade report from the Census Bureau. Obama arrives in Indonesia from India. The Retirement Income Symposium concludes with speakers including David Macchia and Charles Farrell.  

Wednesday, Nov. 10, brings international trade figures from the Census Bureau and import and export prices from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the first-time weekly jobless claims report a day early (prompted by the Veterans Day federal holiday on Thursday) and the Treasury budget numbers for October.

Thursday, Nov. 11, is Veterans' Day, recalling the armistice that ended World War I at the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918: the stock and futures markets are open for business, but the bond market is closed. In Seoul, the G20 Summit convenes in a two-day meeting to follow up on its June meeting in Canada; the President is scheduled to attend.

Friday, Nov. 12, brings the Univ. of Michigan/Thomson Reuters consumer sentiment report and two measures of the U.S. fiscal state of affairs: release of the Federal Reserve’s monthly balance sheet and its money-supply report.

On Saturday, Nov. 13, the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting takes place in Yokohama, Japan, with representatives from the U.S., China, Japan, Russia, Mexico, Australia and other countries.


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