The year’s not over yet.
This 3 and 1/2-day week comes with fresh data on housing, income, spending, and GDP.
Here’s your Monday Scouting Report:
The Fed Sorta Kept “Considerable Time,” But It Could’ve Scrapped It Altogether. Everyone was wondering if the Fed would drop on Wednesday the phrase “considerable time” on in its characterization of the period between now and the first interest rate hike. It did in that context, but it also left the phrase in the statement as background. This left Fed-watchers a bit confused, but the markets ripped higher on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
For Allianz’s Mohamed El-Erian, the market’s reaction to the Fed statement says much. Here’s what he told Business Insider: “Impressive, really impressive. It speaks to the extent to which the Fed still influences stock markets around the world. It also suggests that, at least from an equities’ perspective, the recent remarks of Fed officials and the resulting market positioning had in fact opened a window for the orderly removal of the “considerable period” language.”
- Existing Home Sales (Mon): Economists estimate the pace of sales fell 1.1% in November to an annualized rate of 5.20 million. “The share of distressed sales and investor buying in the existing homes market has trended lower, but the share of first-time buyers hasn‟t picked up much, suggesting that repeat buyers are helping propel sales, which have climbed above the 5.00mn mark since June,” Nomura economists noted. “The pending home sales index, which tends to lead existing sales by a couple of months, declined by 1.1% in October, after rising by 0.6% in September.”
- Durable Good Orders (Tues): Economists estimate orders climbed by 3.0% in November. Capital goods orders excluding nondefense aircraft is estimated to have climbed by 1.0%. “Boeing had another big month, recording 224 plane orders compared to 46 in October and 110 last November, and that should provide a large boost to headline durable goods orders,” Morgan Stanley’s Ted Wieseman said. “Meanwhile, we look for core capital goods orders to start getting back on track following a 2.4% pullback in the past four months from a 5.4% surge in June to a record high, as business surveys, including our Capex Plans Index and MSBCI survey, indicate a continued solid underlying trend.
- GDP (GDP): Economists estimate Q3 GDP growth will be revised up to 4.3% from an earlier estimate of 3.9%. From Morgan Stanley’s Ted Wieseman: “Inputs released since the first revision to 3.9% from 3.5% point to a substantial further upward adjustment to Q3 growth on stronger consumption and business investment. The Census Bureau’s quarterly services survey showed much better growth in hospital and doctors’ offices revenues in Q3 than BEA assumed, pointing to a significant upward revision to healthcare services consumption. Along with a bit of a boost from an upward adjustment to core retail sales in September, we see overall consumption being lifted to 2.9% from 2.2%. The QSS also showed better results for the source data for business software spending, pointing to an upward revision to the intellectual property products component of business investment. And the last construction spending report showed large upward revisions to August and September business spending, pointing to upside in structures investment.”
- Univ. Of Michigan Confidence (Tues): Economists estimate this index of sentiment will be revised to 93.5 from a preliminary estimate of 93.8. “The index surged to 93.8 in early December; since then, stock market volatility has picked up and gasoline prices have fallen further,” Barclays economists said. “We look for these factors largely to offset each other in the final December reading.”
- New Home Sales (Tues): Economists estimate the pace of sales climbed 0.4% in November to an annualized rate of 460,000 units. “The increase in mortgage applications for purchases and more optimistic homebuilder sentiment in November suggest that we might see an increase in new home sales in November,” Nomura economists said. “However, single-family permits declined in November and provide some downside risk to sales.”
- Personal Income And Spending (Tues): Economists estimate income and spending each climbed by 0.5% in November. “Several factors point to a pickup in both income and spending,” Wells Fargo’s John Silvia said. “First, there was a huge surge in employment in the month, with the economy adding 321,000 jobs. In addition, the workweek got a little longer and hourly earnings increased. If the employment report is any indication, incomes should have posted a sizable increase in the month. In terms of spending, the boost to income should play a role in the expected rise in consumer expenditures. Falling gas prices should also help to boost real spending, as less pain at the pump should translate into more dollars that can be used for holiday purchases.”
- Initial Jobless Claims (Wed): Economists estimate the weekly jobless claims climbed to 290,000 from 289,000 a week ago. “The four-week moving average of initial claims has been below the 300k threshold for over three months, a sign that involuntary separations are at their nadir,” Nomura economists said.
- The US stock markets will close at 1:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday and they will be closed all day Thursday.
Nearly every major strategist on Wall Street is convinced stocks are going higher in 2015. However, almost all of those strategists are convinced gains will be very modest.
Fundstrat Global Advisors’ Tom Lee thinks its a mistake to be part of that heard of cautious bulls.
“[T]ake a look at the history of the Street in forecasting S&P 500 actual returns,” Lee wrote on Thursday. “For 5 of the last 6 years, the Street has underestimated the market close, with the exception being 2011 (when the budget showdown and S&P downgrade hurt equities).”
“Be contrarian,” Lee recommends.
For more insight about the middle market, visit mid-marketpulse.com.
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