Good morning. Good Monday. Good markets. Welcome back to the week ahead on Wall Street and a look at what investors need to know for the next five days.
The last week of March doesn't have much on the docket in terms of expected corporate news. However, there are plenty of important events happening in Washington that could go a long way toward determining what kind of a week, and maybe even what kind of a year, we end up having.
As CNBC's Patti Domm pointed out last week, Wall Street is pretty much at Washington's mercy. Remember the good old days when the market used to freak out about every little utterance from the Federal Reserve?
That's over. Now, it's all about Congress, Trump, health care, taxes — and all things political.
This week's significant events: Monday likely will feature more talk about the fate of the GOP's American Health Care Act; on Tuesday, the House Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing about possible collusion between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Russia, while the Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday will analyze the Trump budgetary proposals for taxes and spending.
Though the Russian thing in particular has no direct relation to the markets, it's all part of a broader picture where Wall Street is worried about Washington instability that could derail the president's pro-growth agenda.
In particular, watch the CBO's "scoring" of the budget for how this will affect you as a taxpayer.
How do you really feel about the economy? Are you psyched, cautiously optimistic or just kind of ... meh?
We'll learn more Wednesday about the sentiment on Main Street when the University of Michigan releases its monthly consumer confidence survey. Earlier that day, the closely watched Case-Shiller home price survey also hits, giving an indicator of which way home prices are heading and whether it's a good time to be a buyer or a seller.
Later in the week, there's more about home sales Wednesday, then another look at how much the economy grew in the fourth quarter. Finally, on Friday we'll get to learn how much Americans have been making — and shelling out — when the personal income and spending numbers are released.
The market's at an interesting crossroads: The Trump win propelled a big market surge, but things have cooled off considerably as of late.
We asked Michael Yoshikami, CEO and founder of Destination Wealth Management, what he'd be telling investors who confused over what to do in such a volatile environment. He warned that trying to "time" the market is "virtually impossible to win," but he thinks it's worthwhile to get a little "defensive" when it comes to owning stocks right now: "I think you're going to want to have some (companies) that have dividends, that have some cash flow."
"When people come up to us and say, 'I have cash. Should I invest all my money in the stock market going up?" my answer is, I would be very cautious, and if I put my money in (stocks), I would be putting it in over a period of time that would stretch out into months rather than days or weeks."
In other words, be careful — be very careful.