Job Market Boost Essential for Recovery

Indications are that in general, stock market investors remain bullish in outlook, with the economy continuing to show signs of improvement. Last week saw the Dow Jones industrial average holding its position above the 12,000 level, with the 10,000 level considered to be an important psychological milestone for investors. It wasn’t only the Dow that conquered psychological barriers. The Standard & Poor’s 500 closed last week above 1,300 points, while the Nasdaq did some climbing of its own, reaching heights last seen in 2008. Corporate results indicating a shift of trend from profits driven by cost-cutting, to growth driven by earnings, also contributed to last week’s pleasing market performance.

The upcoming week offers no especially significant market-moving events, however there are some highlights to watch out for. The week kicks off with President Barack Obama addressing an audience of around 200 influential people at the US Chamber of Commerce. This move is seen as a step toward bridging the gap between Obama and the business community as represented by the Chamber and the job market is likely to be high on the agenda. On Monday afternoon the Federal Reserve’s consumer credit report for December will be made public. Also on Monday quarterly results will be released by Lowes, a leading home improvement retailer in the US.

Wednesday sees Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifying before the House Budget Committee. On the corporate front, Coca-Cola and Cisco Systems will be reporting quarterly results. Before opening bell on Thursday, the weekly report on initial jobless benefits claims will be released, with the Federal Treasury budget due during the day. Friday sees the release of government data on December’s US trade balance, with a report on consumer sentiment compiled by the University of Michigan due out in the morning.