Bad news out of Hewlett-Packard before we get any out of Dell. Home Depot tries to better Lowe's while Wal-Mart seeks to manage $4 gas … and the IMF considers life with Dominique Strauss-Kahn behind bars. Here's what we're watching…
From Bailouts to Denied Bail: The saga of Dominique Strauss-Kahn may have just begun, but there's plenty to say already. The IMF chief was headed to Rikers Island Monday eveningafter his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court and subsequent bail denial. The situation leaves market watchers focused on the ripple effects halfway around the world, with the IMF set to make its announcement as early as Tuesday on whether Greece has met the conditions of its 2010 bailout agreement. The results set the stage for the discussions of renegotiating the country's loan deal.
Whale-Watching: We're spending Monday evening parsing through the quarterly 13-F filings made by the world's biggest investors, laying out their holdings. Some of the goodies? David Tepper's Appaloosa Management dissolved its stake in Intel, Johnson & Johnson and JPMorgan Chase , among others, while buying into Apple. George Soros also got out of Johnson & Johnson and nearly all of his stake in Bank of America. Carl Icahn slashed his holdings of Chesapeake Energy, but made big adds in Clorox and Dynegy... while John Paulson took a big bite in Hewlett-Packard . But, Warren Buffett? Some of that remains unknown! As is occasional practice, the SEC permitted Buffett's request to keep certain holdings secret, which usually happens when Berkshire Hathaway is building a big stake. Stay tuned!
Big Box Bonanza: A tale of two retailers on Monday, as JCPenney reported better-than-expected earnings before the market opened, while Lowe's missed Wall Street estimates. It only gets bigger Tuesday, with Home Depot and Wal-Mart on deck. Despite its competitor's miss, Home Depot is expected to report a strong quarter of 49 cents a share on the strength of spring home improvement spending. Analysts anticipate $0.95 a share out of Wal-Mart with the uberchain wary of sky high gasoline's impact on its consumers. In late April, the company's CEO noted that its core shoppers are running out of money much faster due to the rising price at the pump. And that sure won't help the bottom line.
The PC Economy: Dell was set to be the story in tech-land Tuesday… that is, until reports out of the Wall Street Journal late Monday detailed a downbeat internal memo from Hewlett-Packard. In the note, the company's CEO Leo Apotheker says the company faces "another tough quarter" and warns that current headcount plans are "unaffordable." Right on cue, shares in Hewlett-Packard plummeted after hours (paging Mr. Paulson). As for Dell, analysts are looking for 43 cents a share on strong margins.
The Postman Always Rings Twice?: Not for long, my friends. Not for long. Call us nostalgic, but we're not ready for the USPS to go the way of the dinosaur. Sadly, that may be a realistic possibility after the agency announced a first quarter loss of $2.2 billion, with the Postmaster General suggesting that default could come as early as September. Tuesday, a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee holds a hearing focused on the postal service's financial crisis.