Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Week Ahead: Trade

A slow week for econo-groupies, with nothing of commanding interest until Thursday's weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. The week tops off on Friday with international trade balances, also at 8:30 a.m.

A couple of smaller fry worth tracking: Petroleum inventories at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, and consumer sentiment at 9:55 a.m. and the Treasury budget at 2 p.m., both on Friday.

The lack of a theme and the paucity of major reports leaves the task of motivating the markets to American earnings announcements and European collapsing sovereign debt.

The Fedsters will be active.

Monday: Federal Open Market Committee member and Dallas Fed Pres. Richard Fisher speaks at 12:15 p.m. One of the Gang of Three inflation hawks, his resume shows institutional ties to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s strategic advisory firm, the private bank Brown Brothers Harriman Inc., and his own money management firm.  He took office under President George W. Bush.

Tuesday: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before a Senate committee at 10 a.m. He testified last week before the corresponding House committee. I expect nearly identical testimony, followed by more competent questioning than the House provided.

Wednesday: FOMC alternate and San Francisco Fed Pres John Williams, at 10:40 a.m. He took office under President Barack Obama after rising through the Fed system.

Friday. Bernanke speaks again -- a double play for the Head Fedster -- at the National Association of Homebuilders International Show and will take audience questions. He begins at 12:30 p.m.

Also Friday, FOMC alternate and Cleveland Fed Pres. Sandra Pianalto, at 12:50 p.m. Before taking office President George W. Bush, she had institutional ties early on to the U.S. House Budget Committee and then joined the Fed staff.

Practical trading: By my rules, as of Monday I can trade March vertical, calendar, diagonal and butterfly spreads, iron condors and covered calls, and May singles and straddles. Of course, shares are good at any time.

Good trading!

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