Sun, Aug 05, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Wall Street eyes calm after week of high drama

TIME OUT:After Investors spent the week pinning their hopes on action from the Fed and ECB only to be let down, many are looking forward to an easier summer


After a drama-packed week of central bank meetings, economic indicators and corporate earnings, Wall Street just may find some relief in the dog days of summer.

The US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank (ECB) dashed hopes for policy action and the US jobs report for last month stirred the bulls with employment gains well above expectations.

Calendars will be noticeably lighter next week as vacation season hits high gear, offering perhaps a respite to investors wanting to coolly scrutinize their options.

The main Wall Street indices slid for four days before the US Department of Labor’s report on Friday kicked off a powerful rally.

Over the course of the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained a meager 0.16 percent, finishing at 13,096.17 points, the blue-chip index’s highest close since May 3.

The technology-rich NASDAQ rose 0.33 percent to 2,967.90 points.

The Standard & Poor’s 500, a broad measure of the markets, advanced 0.36 percent to 1,390.99 points.

Wall Street spent the early part of the week waiting for back-to-back policy decisions from the Fed on Wednesday, and from the ECB on Thursday.

In the end, both the Fed and ECB dashed hopes for fresh action to jumpstart weak economies and in the case of the ECB, to take immediate action addressing the eurozone sovereign debt crisis. Stocks slumped.

Then Friday’s highly anticipated jobs report came in, showing the US added 163,000 jobs last month, well above the 100,000 expected, while the unemployment rate rose a tenth of a point to 8.3 percent. Stocks jumped.

IHS Global Insight analysts Paul Edelstein and Nigel Gault said the favorable jobs outlook was unlikely to change the Fed’s outlook, which they saw as heading toward a third round of bond-buying to help boost the sluggish economy.

“The report will alleviate fears that the US might be tipping back into recession, but we do not believe that it was strong enough to dissuade the Fed from introducing a new quantitative easing program at its next meeting” on Sept. 12 to Sept. 13, they said.

Earnings season enters the final lap next week. analysts said just over 80 percent of the S&P 500 companies had reported quarterly results, with about two-thirds of them having beaten earnings estimates.

“On the other hand, roughly 56 percent of companies have missed sales expectations. Guidance has been decidedly cautious,” they said.

Among companies lined up to release reports next week are the Disney Company, on Tuesday and News Corp, on Wednesday.

The economic calendar is light on major indicators, except for Thursday’s official data on the US trade deficit in June.

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