Economic News, Entertainment

PrimeRates Morning Markets: CPI, Wal-Mart, Japan, Housing And Iron Man

While this time of the year tends to see light market trading, there are a few things to keep an eye on. Wal-Mart will report this week and it is always considered a bellwether, especially in this economy.

—Japan reported slower than expected GDP numbers as the massive government “easing” program does not seem to be having the desired outcome. There are some nominal signs that deflation might be slowing ( a goal of the easing program) but as of this morning the (Japanese) markets are not reacting positively.

—On Thursday the U.S. will report the consumer price index (CPI) and on Friday, the housing starts will be watched closely.

—Don’t forget Europe! Bridgewater Hedge fund has raised some concerns. Now, these concerns are nothing new to PrimeRates readers of course, but it is worth noting some of the details:

…the most important point that will likely pose the greatest threat to the financial system in the short term are the upcoming stress tests of the European banks.

These test are likely to show the shortfalls of capital in the banks and could lead to a systemic crisis. This risk is further increased by the Basel III rules as they come into effect in the months ahead.

Uh-oh. Here we go again. Markets are unlikely to be surprised by that conclusion, but as time gets nearer to the day of reckoning, expect plenty of volatility.

—Another Wal-Mart item of note: They want to be “the number 1 beer seller in the world”. Does anyone doubt that they can do it?

—Iron Man to rescue HTC? The first commercial by Robert Downey Jr. for HTC’s smart phones hits this Thursday. The company is naturally excited, and among other things, had this to say:

Downey uses an HTC One model and, like a lot of industry analysts, believes in their quality, the company says. He “doesn’t really need the money” that HTC will pay for the series of events and commercials, Ho says, a sign that Downey believes in the product.

Yes, that may be true and all, but who’s betting he’s getting paid truckloads of money anyway?

—Speaking of cell phones, you may have missed it, but Apple had another victory over Samsung last week and seems to be on a bit of a roll. Is Samsung destined to keep losing and importantly, to keep paying again and again? This fight is worth keeping an eye on.

—Finally, The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is looking into price rigging in the metals markets. Is that a thread that the government really wants to pull? Many people have long thought that the game was rigged, or at least heavily manipulated, so this investigation should be interesting.