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Debt Ceiling, Retail Sales and Housing : Advisor Briefing for the Week of May 16, 2011

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The big market-moving news for this week began Monday morning when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announcing that the United States has reached its debt limit. Other news for the week that may move the markets is more clarity on consumer behavior in the form of multiple earnings reports from big retailers, including Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Target, and data on housing, along with leading economic indicators from the Conference Board.

European debt issues have been complicated by the arrest of IMF chief and French presidential hopeful Dominique Strauss-Kahn; his arraignment is due to occur in New York on Monday. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Geithner deliver separate high-profile speeches during the week, and in central bank-land, the Fed releases minutes of its April FOMC meeting while the Bank of Japan at week’s end holds two days of policy meetings.

Watch for onsite reporting on AdvisorOne of IMCA and NAPFA’s annual meetings by Investment Advisor’s John Sullivan and Research’s Gil Weinreich.

All times are Eastern.

Monday, May 16

European Union finance ministers hold two days of meetings, focusing on Greece and Portugal debt issues.

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn to be arraigned in New York on sexual assault charges.

8:00 AM:         IMCA’s 2011 Annual Conference convenes in Las Vegas. Watch for onsite reporting by Research magazine Editor Gil Weinreich.

9:00 AM:         Endeavor lifted off in the penultimate flight in NASA’s space shuttle program.

9:00 AM:         Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at Conference Board conference at Georgetown University on “New Building Blocks for Jobs and Economic Growth.”

12:00 PM:       Housing market index (HMI) for May released by National Assn. of Homebuilders.

2:00 PM:         U.S. Senate convenes for a period of morning business; House is adjourned until May 23.

Retailer earnings: JC Penney, Lowe's

Tuesday, May 17

7:00 AM:          Housing starts for April released by U.S. Commerce Dept.

9:15 AM:          April industrial production numbers released by Federal Reserve.

10:00 AM:        "Financing 21st Century Infrastructure" hearing by Senate Committee on Finance

5:00 PM:          Speech by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on “The Economy and our Fiscal Challenge,” at Harvard Club in New York.

Retailer earnings: JC Penney, Lowe's

Wednesday, May 18    

8:00 AM:          Opening of NAPFA National Conference in Salt Lake City. Look for reporting from the conference by Investment Advisor Editor John Sullivan.

9:30 AM:          “The State of the Securitization Markets” hearing, Senate Banking Committee, Subcommittee on Securities Insurance, and Investment

10:00 AM:        Open meeting focusing on credit ratings agencies by the SEC.

10:30 AM:         Weekly petroleum status report from the Energy Information Administration.

2:00 PM:           Federal Reserve releases minutes of the April FOMC meeting.

Retailer earnings: Target, Staples

Thursday, May 19

7:00 AM:              Existing home sales for April released by National Association of Realtors.

7:00 AM:              Manufacturing index for April released by Philadelphia Federal Reserve.

7:45 AM:              Weekly new unemployment insurance claims from the Labor Dept.

10:00 AM:            Leading economic indicators for April from the Conference Board.

Retailer earnings: Gap, WIlliams Sonoma

Friday, May 20.

Concluding day of monetary policy meetings by Bank of Japan.

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