Wall Street Upbeat For Week Ahead

While Egypt may appear far removed from Wall Street, in a world that has become a global village, what happens in one country often has an effect elsewhere, and US markets responded well to the prospect of stability brought about by the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Although there is no clear-cut path set out for the road to stability in the Egyptian government, the end of violent protests allows authorities to focus their energies on the task of moving ahead. However, with the Middle East experiencing rumblings of unrest at different levels, this region is likely to remain under the spotlight for some time. Believed mainly to be in response to developments in Egypt, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 0.4 percent (43.97 points) on Friday to close at 12,273.26 thereby clocking up a gain for the week of 1.5 percent. Likewise, the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.7 percent (18.99 points) to close Friday on 2,809.44, recording a 1.5 percent gain over the week before. The S&P500 rose by 0.6 percent (7.28 points) on Friday to end the day on 1,329.15 and end the week up 1.4 percent over the previous week.

The overall spirit on Wall Street is one of optimism. Apparently even Valentine’s Day falling on a Monday is a good sign. Senior index analyst at Standard & Poor’s Indices, Howard Silverblatt, reportedly noted that out of the eleven Valentine’s Days that fell on a Monday, the S&P 500 made gains 63.4 percent of the time. Market movement is, of course, as a result of many factors, and it has been noted that since the launch of QE2 – the second round of quantitative easing – by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in August, markets have been posting significant monthly gains and boosting investor confidence.

The week starts with President Obama presenting his proposed 2012 federal budget, putting to rest the speculation on what cuts will be made in attaining the goal of $1.1 trillion dollars in deficit cuts over the next decade. Monday also sees quarterly results from Marriott and MGM Resorts. Tuesday brings the Commerce Department’s retail sales reports, with the National Association of Homebuilders releasing its February preliminary housing market index. Quarterly results are due from Qwest, Sirius XM Radio, Tesla Motors and Dell.

January housing starts and building permits come out on Wednesday morning, as is the Producer Price Index (PPI) and core-PPI. Quarterly results are due from Cablevision, CBS and Comcast. The US Consumer Price Index is due on Thursday, with other reports of market interest being the weekly report on initial claims for jobless benefits and the preliminary Philadelphia Fed’s index for February. Quarterly results due on Thursday include Nordstrom, Duke Energy, and Intuit. The week draws to a close with no significant market related reports expected.