How would you assess the economic grand picture for the United States? What specific data set do you look at?
How would you would use the Sunzi's strategic principles to assess the economic grand picture? ...
The clues are in this blog. ...
Wall St. looking for clues, inspiration
Tim Paradis, Associated Press Monday, February 16, 2009
(02-16) 04:00 PST New York --
The stock market doesn't have much to hang its hat on.
With the stream of corporate earnings reports waning and President Obama preparing to sign the $787 billion stimulus package, investors this week will be looking for fresh clues about the economy.
Wall Street has been busy focusing on companies' quarterly numbers and the developments in Washington. Now, investors are faced with finding less obvious answers to the question, "What's next?"
Any jitters about what might be the next major bit of news to drive the market could extend the back-and-forth trading seen in the nearly three months since the Standard & Poor's 500 index finished at an 11-year low on Nov. 20.
Stocks fell sharply last week to end at their lowest levels since November, as investors factored in the stimulus bill and looked to other uncertainties about the economy. The benchmark S&P 500 ended down 4.8 percent for the week, while the Dow Jones industrial average lost 5.2 percent.
"This whole process has been a market-bottoming process. It takes time," said Harry Clark, president and chief executive at Clark Capital Management in Philadelphia.
Clark and other market experts say it remains unclear whether the late-November levels will hold as the bottom of the market's pullback from its October 2007 highs.
U.S. markets are closed today for Presidents Day. On Tuesday, Obama plans to sign the stimulus bill in Denver. He is then scheduled to outline his mortgage-rescue proposal on Wednesday.
Also this week, General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC are expected to submit plans to the government to meet a Tuesday deadline for showing how they can repay billions in loans and become viable, even as automobile sales are falling.
GM already has borrowed $9.4 billion and would receive another $4 billion if the Treasury Department signs off on its viability plan. Chrysler has borrowed $4 billion and is seeking another $3 billion.
Investors are worried one or more of the companies could have to declare bankruptcy if they don't win additional financing. Ford Motor Co. is the only one of the Detroit automakers not taking government loans.
Wall Street also will be looking at a few quarterly reports from retailers and other companies. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is due to report results on Tuesday before the market opens. Investors have relied on the world's largest retailer as a safe bet in a weak economy because it can attract customers looking for discounts on necessities.
Earnings are also due this week from cable TV operator Comcast Corp., farm equipment-maker Deere & Co., Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Hewlett-Packard Co., J.C. Penney Co. and Sprint Nextel Corp.
Most earnings reports from the final quarter of 2008 have been weak, but that shouldn't come as surprise given the difficult recession, analysts say. They contend the markets eventually will look beyond the bad news to a recovery.
This article appeared on page C - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle
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