Twitter spices up market day, before retail sales
Auto sales should give a boost to Friday's August retail sales report, among the last big piece of data for the Federal Reserve to consider before it meets next week.
Stocks were quiet Thursday ahead of the Fed meeting, but the market day got spicier after the close when Twitter announced it would go public and that should be a big topic Friday. The company provided no other details but that it had filed with the Securities and Exchange commission. Goldman Sachs is the lead underwriter for the offering, which has been widely anticipated.
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"This is the premier deal of the year now," said Steve Massocca of Wedbush Securities. "I think they think the time is right, the iron is hot and it's time to do it. I think the timing, if anything, is a little tardy. It's going to be a hot, hot deal. It will be well attended."
Twitter's filing comes on the heels of an IPO filing by Hilton Worldwide early Thursday. It also comes at a time when companies are rushing to the capital markets to issue both stock and debt. Verizon this week issued a record $49 billion in debt. As of August, Renaissance Capital reports 131 U.S. IPOs came to market, compared to 128 for all of last year.
Even secondary stock offerings are taking off. CNBC's Bob Pisani reports there have been 485 secondary stock offerings so far this year, compared to 350 for the same period last year.
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Friday's data also includes PPI, reported at 8:30 a.m. Friday, and consumer sentiment at 9:55 a.m. Business inventories are reported at 10 a.m.
Economists expect to see a 0.5 percent increase in August retail sales, but without automobiles, the increase is expect to be 0.3 percent. Last month, retail sales rose 0.2 percent, but were 0.5 percent when automobiles were not included. Thursday's jobless claims data was expected to be a data point the Fed would watch but the claims, at a stunning 292,000 was a flawed report that did not include data from two states because of computer problems.
The Fed meets Wednesday and Thursday, and stocks could meander ahead of that meeting as traders await the outcome. It is anticipated by many economists that the Fed will trim its $85 billion monthly bond purchases by about $10 to $15 billion.
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"I think they are watching the consumer, and in the broader scheme of things, where retail sales fits in is the Fed and a lot of others have been talking about an acceleration of the economy in the second half of the year, and so far, we're not really seeing it," said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpoint Securities. "Clearly, the August consumption numbers will play a key role in determining whether the third quarter is going to be a disappointment."
Stanley said he expects to see core retail sales rise 0.6 percent, but just 0.2 percent when autos are taken out. "Autos are strong and nothing else has really followed it. I would harken back to this notion that more and more people need to replace their cars."
What Else to Watch
Secretary of State John Kerry meets in Geneva with his Russian counterpart for a second day on Syria.
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Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulsen will be on "Squawk Box" at 7 a.m. Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computer will be on "Squawk on the Street" at 9 a.m. after shareholders Thursday approved his deal to take the company private.
European Union finance ministers are in Lithuania for a two-day meeting.
—By CNBC's Patti Domm. Follow here on Twitter @pattidomm.