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GDP, Home Sales, and Securities America: Advisor Briefing for the Week of March 21, 2011

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The Congress is off this week—for good or ill—while the top economic reports include final GDP figures for the fourth quarter of 2010 at week’s end (the consensus is for 3.0% growth), while we also receive multiple reports on the state of the housing market. The headline news may well focus on the international incursion in Libya and a continuing focus on the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and its nuclear plant issues. For advisors in the last full week of March, there will be much interest on the unfolding saga of independent BD Securities America and what a Texas judge’s ruling will mean for the Ameriprise subsidiary and its representatives.

Catching up with developments over the weekend, on late Friday, March 18, Federal Judge Royal Furgeson ruled in Dallas against a class action settlement that would have given Securities America some closure on a lawsuit related to certain investments sold by Securities America reps. Watch AdvisorOne for continuing coverage of this issue. On Sunday, the New York Mets filed court papers in the Bernie Madoff case that Mets’ ownership claims showed they had no way of knowing that Madoff was behaving fraudulently. AT&T made a bid worth $39 billion for T-Mobile USA, owned by Deutsche Telekom, in a deal that, if approved by regulators, would leave the U.S. with just three cellular telephone carriers.

On Monday, March 21, U.S. markets will be given their first chance to respond to the air war over Libya, and a new week in which to respond to the continuing aftermath of the Japan earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant issues. See AdvisorOne’s slideshow on how to protect your clients from acts of God and man, and see also our survey of what your peers—including Harold Evensky, Marc Cortazzo and Keith Springer—are telling clients about events in Japan, North Africa and the Mideast. Washington Mutual will seek bankruptcy court approval to move up its repayment of creditors under Chapter 11. European finance ministers are scheduled to meet in Brussels on the debt crisis.

Economic reports due to be released on Monday include existing home sales for February 2011 from the National Association of Realtors. Francois Gadenne kicks off the two-day Retirement Income Industry Association (RIIA) spring conference in Chicago; look for onsite reporting from Investment Advisor Editor John Sullivan.

Tuesday, March 22, brings release of retail sales from ICSC-Goldman Sachs and Johnson Redbook, along with the FHFA’s House Price Index.

Wednesday, March 23, brings new home sales from the Census Bureau for February, along with the weekly EIA petroleum status report. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks before the Independent Community Bankers of America national conference.

Thursday, March 24, brings durable goods orders for February from the Census Bureau, weekly unemployment insurance claims from the Department of Labor and the EIA natural gas report. EU leaders begin two days of meetings in Brussels on details of the eurozone-wide bailout plan.

Friday, March 25, brings the third and final GDP numbers for the fourth quarter of 2010, the Labor Department’s BEA’s quarterly corporate profits report, and the monthly Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment report.