The Week Ahead: April 2-8, 2012

April 1, 2012 11:34 PM
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via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Congress on Easter recess | Crop Progress report resumes| Employment report Friday

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

Congress is out on a two-week Easter recess and will return the week of April 16, although there is a field hearing on tap via a House hearing today in Pittsburgh, Pa., on trade policy on small businesses.

The coming week will see economic indicators build into Friday’s key Employment Situation report, but ironically, markets will be closed that day so the market reaction will be delayed until Monday, April 9.

Another update on the manufacturing sector will come from the ISM index Monday, Factory Orders data comes Tuesday, ADP Employment data arrives Wednesday, with weekly Jobless Claims on Thursday.

It will be interesting to see how stocks perform this week after putting in one of their strongest quarters in years. Any appearances by Federal Reserve officials, especially those who are more middle-of-the-roaders on policy, will be watched closely for any signals on whether they favor any shift in current Fed policies.

Any new developments in Europe or the Middle East could also affect markets.

For agriculture, the attention will be on today's resumption of the weekly Crop Progress report and there could even be corn planting data in that update. But the major attention will be on winter wheat condition ratings as the market has only had information over the winter from selected states. Otherwise, demand and China in particular will remain a major factor, which will mean the usual high focus on the Weekly Export Sales data out Thursday morning.

Trading timelines. While grain and soybean futures will trade normal hours Thursday, livestock futures will end trade at noon CT that day and ag futures markets will be closed April 6 in observance of Good Friday.

President Barack Obama today hosts the leaders of Mexico and Canada at the White House for a North American summit. Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper join Obama in the talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which seeks to more closely integrate the economies of the three countries. Monday's summit is scheduled to last only a few hours: the three leaders and their top aides will meet, then Obama will host Harper and Calderon for lunch. The three will then meet in private, and conclude the event by holding a joint press conference. Through NAFTA, Canada is the largest market for US exports, followed by Mexico. The US in turn is the largest market for both Mexican and Canadian exports.

Monday, April 2
Congress on Easter recess:
The House and Senate are off on their two-week Easter recess, returning on April 16.
President Obama
hosts Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon for asummit of North American leaders in Washington.
MF Global:
A New York bankruptcy judge considers whether MF Global Holdings should pay for any legal expenses of former CEO Jon Corzine should he be accused of any wrongdoing.
Market closures:
Markets in Argentina close. China's markets are closed through Wednesday for Tomb-Sweeping Day.
Impact of US trade policies on small businesses: Subcommittee field hearing. House Small Business — Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade field hearing in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Economic reports:
Selected Interest Rates (Federal Reserve) | ISM Non-Mfg Index. | Construction Spending.
The International Grains Council issues its monthly report.
USDA reports:
Export inspections (AMS) | Crop Progress (NASS).

Tuesday, April 3
Asean leaders hold talks: The 20th summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations opens in Phnom Penh. Leaders from the 10 member countries are due to attend the event in the Cambodian capital as well as partner countries such as China, Japan and South Korea (until April 4).
GOP primaries: Republican primaries take place in Wisconsin, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.
Energy reports: Weekly National Petroleum Report (API).
Economic reports: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales. | Factory Orders | FOMC Minutes.

Wednesday, April 4
The European Central Bank is seen holding rates steady.
Market closure:
Markets are closed in Hong Kong.
Energy reports: Weekly Petroleum Status Report (EIA) | Weekly ethanol plant production (EIA).
Economic reports: Weekly mortgage applications (Labor Dept.) | ADP Employment Report | ISM Non-Mfg Index.
USDA reports: Broiler Hatchery (NASS) | Dairy Products (NASS).

Thursday, April 5
The Bank of England is expected to stand pat on interest rates.
Market closures: Markets are closed in Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela and others for Maundy Thursday. India markets also close.
Transportation: Association of American Railroads issues Weekly Traffic of Major Railroads.
Energy reports: Weekly US underground natural gas stocks (EIA).
Economic reports: Jobless Claims (Labor Dept.) | Weekly Mortgage Rates (Freddie Mac) | ICI weekly money market mutual fund data.
USDA reports: Grain Transportation Report (AMS) | Export Sales (FAS) | Peanut Prices (NASS).

Friday, April 6

Trading timelines: The US fixed-income market closes at noon EDT for Good Friday. Foreign-exchange futures markets on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange close at 10:15 CT, while most other contracts on the exchange are closed.
Most major equity markets around the world are closed, including the US, U.K., Brazil, and Hong Kong.
US trade policy analyzed: Six former US trade representatives debate the challenges on trade the country faces this year at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Economic reports: Employment | Consumer Credit.

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.






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