The last two weeks have been a heart-stopping roller coaster ride for investors. But don’t assume that the ride is necessarily over, said Michael Ryan, chief investment strategist at UBS.
Ryan, in an interview with On Wall Street, said that while the market in the past couple weeks was roiled by investor concerns about the political crisis over the U.S. debt-ceiling and the country’s sovereign rating, about European debt, about the policy decisions of central bankers, about the direction of the U.S. and global economy and about the impact of all of these on corporate earnings, this week investors will focusing on reports providing key data telling them exactly where the economy is headed.
Ryan said, “With so much riding on the sustainability of the expansion, it is the economic data that will likely 'make or break' things this week for financial markets.”
He predicts that the data will be “mixed,” but that it is “unlikely to signal a recession,” and adds, "with so much bad news having been discounted into stock prices, there is further room for recovery on release of date that is in line with the consensus.”
He doubts a repeat of the past two weeks’ swings, saying they were “a function of a perfect storm: debt ceiling debacle, S&P downgrade, failure of Eurozone leaders to respond in a timely and rigorous manner,” but cautions, “uncertainties remain, so markets will remain volatile in the near term.”
The calendar this week is packed with such releases, he said, including:
Monday: Empire State manufacturing index (down for the third straight month by an amount far worse than economists had predicted) and the National Assn. of Homebuilders/Wells Fargo Index, flat from July but still at 15 on an index where 50 is considered “good.”
Tuesday: Import prices, housing starts and building permits, industrial production and capacity utilization figures.
Wednesday: the Producer Price Index -- another measure of inflation and economic demand.
Thursday: Weekly unemployment claims, Consumer Price Index, leading indicators, Philadelphia Federal Reserve Index (a gauge that measures regional business growth) and existing home sales.
Friday: A day of rest -- no data releases expected.
In addition to all these data releases that will have to be analyzed and parsed by analysts, investment strategists and investors themselves looking for indicators about the health or lack of health of the U.S. economy, there will also be some significant earnings reports this week.
Ryan’s list includes the following:
-- Monday: Estee Lauder and Lowe’s
-- Tuesday: Dell Inc., Home Depot, Wal-Mart Stores, and Analog Devices
-- Wednesday: John Deere & Co., Staples Inc. and Progressive Corp.
-- Thursday: Hewlett-Packard and The Gap Inc.