Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Week Ahead: Yellen, FOMC minutes, home sales

The housing sector will be the only part of the economy to see major major numbers released this week, with existing home sales published Thursday and new home sales on Friday, both at 10 a.m. New York time.

The Federal Reserve provides the only other potential market movers during the week.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen delivers commencement remarks at New York University at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, and the Federal Open Market Committee minutes will be released, at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

It pays to listen when a Fed chair speaks because there's always the possibility of a bombshell that will disturb the markets. The FOMC minutes can move markets sharply if they contain a hint of increasing paranoia about inflation (or deflation) among the people who make monetary policy. Otherwise, they're a yawner.

The trading week for bonds will be cut short by two hours on Friday as traders in the United States take off early in anticipation of a three-day weekend to mark Memorial Day. U.S. markets, both bonds and stocks, will be closed the following Monday, May 26, which will also see markets closed in London but open in Tokyo and Sydney.

Leading indicators (in descending order of importance):

The interest rate spread between 10-year Treasuries and the federal funds rate, reported continually during market hours.

The M2 money supply, at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

The S&P 500 index, reported continually during market hours.

Average weekly initial jobless claims, at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. 

Other reports of interest:

Wednesday: Petroleum inventories at 10:30 a.m.

Thursday:   The purchasing managers index of manufacturing flash release at 9:45 a.m. and the Federal Reserve money supply report at 4:30 p.m.

Friday: Markets close early, at 2 p.m.

I also keep an eye on the Baltic Dry Index, updated daily.


In addition to Yellen, four Federal Open Market Committee members will make public appearances: Dallas Fed Pres. Richard Fisher on Monday, Philadelphia Fed Pres. Charles Plosser on Tuesday, and New York Fed Pres. William Dudley and Minneapolis Fed Pres. Narayana Kocherlakota on Wednesday.

One other of the Fed glitterati takes to the podium during the week, Kansas City Fed Pres. Esther George on Wednesday.

Analytical universe

This week I shall be analyzing new bull and bear signals among 3,830 small-cap and larger stocks and exchange-traded funds.

Trading calendar

By my rules, I'm trading June options and later for the short legs of vertical, diagonal and calendar spreads and covered calls, and for all legs of butterfly spreads and iron condors. I'm trading August options and later for single calls and puts as well as straddles. Shares, of course, are good at any time.

Good trading.


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