Market Insider

Market Insider/Tuesday Look Ahead

Existing home sales data and major earnings from McDonald's, AT&T, and Dupont, among others, will play a key role in driving stocks after Monday's slow drift in the market.

But late news from Texas Instruments may also be a dampener. After the bell, Texas Instruments reported earnings in line with forecasts, but said second quarter profits would be below analysts' expectations. The company cited economic uncertainty.

Earnings Central

Along with Dow components McDonald's , AT&T and DuPont , Kimberly Clark , Lockheed Martin , United Health , Wyeth , Baker Hughes , and CME Group are also among companies reporting earnings early Tuesday.

Yahoo reports earnings after the bell, and those results will be scrutinized for what they may say about the Microsoft deal, if anything. The theory is weak earnings would strengthen the Microsoft hand, but strong earnings would give Yahoo more reason to play hard to get. News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch Monday said he wouldn't challenge Microsoft with his own Yahoo bid, but Reuters reported he left the door open to a joint bid, depending on the deal.

Other events worth watching Tuesday include the Citigroup and New York Times annual shareholder meetings.

There's also an IPO promising to bounce higher in Tuesday morning trading. Intrepid Potash priced after the bell at $32, well above the expected $27 to $29 range. Intrepid joins the group of sizzling fertilizer stocks that have moved higher with rising fertilizer prices.

In Washington, health-care officials gather at the 5th Annual World Health Care Congress.

President Bush, meanwhile, meets with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the North American Leaders Summit in New Orleans.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission holds a round table to explore whether futures markets are able to handle the red hot trading in commodities markets as well as the impact on agriculture.

Pennsylvania voters go to the polls to vote in the presidential primary. Pundits predict a Pennsylvania win for Sen. Hillary Clinton,D-N.Y., over Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.


Housing data is the high point this week when it comes to economic numbers. On Tuesday, Existing home sales for March are reported at 10 a.m. and are expected to come in at 4.93 million, down two percent. New home sales are reported Thursday and are exacted to come in at 579,000, down 1.9 percent.

Tony Crescenzi of Miller Tabak said in a note Monday that the supply of unsold homes was still about 1.5 million above normal in February and it would take the decline of another 500,000 to change the outlook for housing prices and boost confidence in financial markets. Meanwhile, data is also showing that builders are finally bringing their construction levels down, which should help with the inventory problem.

"... New construction is now below household formation ... This means the housing stock will inevitably fall," he wrote.

Market Malaise

Bad news from the banking sector was a drag on stocks Monday. Bank of America reported a wider-than-expected loss, and National City only added to the mood with its announcement that it was getting a $7 billion cash infusion. The S&P financial sector was 1.7 percent lower.

The Dow finished off 24 or 0.2 percent and the S&P 500 was down 2.16 points. But the Nasdaq rose 5 points as shares of some big tech names, like Apple, moved higher. Apple reports earnings later in the week.

In the commodities markets, gold gained $2.50 per troy ounce to $914.70. Oil rose $0.79 per barrel to $117.48 as rebel attacks in Nigeria triggered supply concerns. Gasoline futures fell 0.3 percent to $2.9791 per gallon but gasoline at the pump continues to flare up. The EIA said on Monday the average price at the pump last week was $3.51, up $0.119 from the week earlier.

Confused about the market?

"Squawk Box" Tuesday has pulled together an all-star team of market analysts. BlackRock Vice Chairman Robert Doll will co-host with Squawk Box anchors, and at 8 am he will be joined by Goldman Sachs strategist Abby Joseph Cohen, Pimco's Paul McCulley, Capital Growth Managemement's Ken Heebner and Vanguard Group Founder John Bogle.  

Hot Commodities

The CFTC's roundtable on futures markets gets underway at 9 am.

Jerry McReynolds, vice president of the National Wheat Growers, is one of the more than two dozen officials from the exchanges, trade groups and Wall Street that will be participating.

McReynolds, a wheat farmer from Kansas, said one of the top issues affecting farmers is the big disparity between futures prices and cash prices. Another issue is the increase in margin requirements which have increased as the price of the commodities have gone up.

"It's causing financial constraints," he said.

At the same time, farmers are also being squeezed in other ways. "Fertilizer has doubled. Fuel has gone crazy and our chemical costs are going up," he said. Some farmers, he says, locked in prices that now may not even allow them to break even despite higher prices for the grain.

One idea that his group definitely doesn't like is the suggestion from the Treasury that the Securities and Exchange Commission merge with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.

"We're concerned with that. That won't get us anywhere. We're not looking for any more regulations because we know who pays at the end of the day. It all comes back to the producer," he said.

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