March 15th wasn't a good day for Julius Caesar, but it may well be one for U.S. stock investors. The Dow is going for its first 11-day winning streak in more than 21 years, and the S&P 500 is less than two points shy of its all-time closing high set in October 2007. The Dow is also trying for its 11th straight Friday gain – it hasn't lost ground on a Friday since December 28.
Economic reports will be a significant part of the week's final trading day, which also features the quarterly "quadruple witching" options and futures expirations. At 8:30 a.m. ET, the February consumer price index is expected to register a 0.6 percent gain after being unchanged in January. The core rate, which excludes food and energy, is seen rising 0.2 percent after a January increase of 0.3 percent.
At 9:15 a.m. ET, consensus forecasts call for February industrial production to be up 0.4 percent after January's 0.1 percent decline, while factory capacity utilization is expected to rise to 79.4 percent from the prior month's 79.1 percent.
At 9:55 a.m. ET, the University of Michigan's preliminary March consumer sentiment index is seen rising to 78.0 from the final February reading of 77.6.
Carnival Corp. (CCL) leads our list of stocks to watch, both because it will issue quarterly earnings at 9:15 a.m. ET, and because it will comment on the recent cruise ship mishaps. The Carnival Dream had to end a cruise in St. Maarten yesterday because of various technical problems, and the Carnival Legend is having propulsion problems which will cause it to miss a scheduled stop because it's unable to travel at its usual speed.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Goldman Sachs (GS) are among the many bank stocks we'll watch today, following the release of the Fed's stress test results. The Fed says the two banking giants need better capital plans, and gave the banks until September to revise them. Among the banks whose capital plans were approved: Citigroup (C), Wells Fargo (WFC), Morgan Stanley (MS), and Bank of America (BAC).
Live Nation (LYV) has named Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei as its new non-executive chairman. Maffei has been on the Liberty board for the past two years.
Aeropostale (ARO) reported fourth quarter profit of $0.24 per share, excluding certain items, two cents above estimates. Revenue also beat consensus, but the teen clothing retailer also said it would report a loss and a drop in sales for the current quarter because of a weak economy and the need to cut its prices.
Boeing (BA) says it expects to resume commercial flights of the 787 Dreamliner within weeks, not months. Boeing executive Michael Sinnett told reporters in Tokyo that a new fix for the jet's battery issues has many new safeguards built in to prevent overheating.
Apple (AAPL) will be on the watch list today as rival Samsung introduces its new Galaxy S4 smartphone. The S4 will go on sale in the U.S. sometime in May or June.
Electronic Arts (EA) and Activision Blizzard (ATVI) will be under scrutiny today, following an NPD report showing videogame industry sales were down 25% in February compared to a year earlier. Sales have contracted on a year-over-year basis in every month since December 2011.