Investors watch for surprises in US GDP

Traders are watching for any surprises in revised third-quarter GDP data Tuesday and are keeping an eye on the oil market ahead of OPEC's meeting later this week.

Stocks ended higher Monday, and oil prices were lower in U.S. trading with WTI crude falling 73 cents to $75.78 a barrel, ahead of Thursday's OPEC meeting.

"What I think is going to happen is slightly better than even chance, call it 60 percent that they do a meaningful and widely shared cut. We're saying a million barrels a day in real crude and that could be 1.5 million barrels a day in quotas,"

said Michael Wittner, global head of oil market research at Societe General.

Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Some traders expect oil to have a violent reaction to whatever the outcome is Thursday when OPEC meets in Vienna. While Wittner expects a cut in production as OPEC tries to stabilize prices, another camp believes that is not likely to happen and oil prices could plunge as a result.

"If they give the same message they gave a couple months ago that the market itself is going to adjust supply that is very bearish. We would be forecasting Brent at $70 and WTI at $65 for the next two years," he said. "Our base case is pretty constructive." He said if OPEC cuts as expected, he would expect Brent to trade at $90 over the next two years.

Third quarter GDP growth is expected to be lowered slightly to 3.3 percent, down slightly from 3.5 percent when it's reported at 8:30 a.m. ET. Consumer confidence, at 10 a.m., is expected to increase to 96.5 from October's 94.5, already the highest level in seven years.

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Home price data is also reported, with S&P Case-Shiller at 9 a.m.

"The consumer has so many things going for them now," said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi.

"Gasoline prices are plummeting here. That's putting some money in peoples' pockets."

Other data this week includes Wednesday's durable goods, personal income and spending and new home sales.

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"What we want to look at is anything that's suggesting the world economic growth story, stronger dollar story is starting to provide a drag on the U.S. economy," Rupkey said. "Can the U.S. remain an oasis of prosperity when the rest of the world isn't doing well? We'll look at business capital goods orders (Wednesday) to see if they continue down." Net export data in GDP will also be important.

Besides data Tuesday, there is a $35 billion 5-year note auction. Monday's $28 billion auction of 2-year notes saw the strongest bidding in 11 months.

There are several earnings Tuesday including Campbell Soup, Hormel, Tiffany, Pall Corp, Chico's FAS, Cracker Barrel, Dangdang and Eaton Vance before the bell. Hewlett Packard, Analog Devices and TiVo report after the close.

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