Markets finished this relatively quiet week much where they began, as a lack of significant catalysts left markets trading mostly sideways and led to the major indices closing decidedly mixed following the week's activities. All told, the Dow ended the week moderately in positive territory, gaining 82 points to close at 10471, up 0.8% on the week and 19.3% on the year. The Nasdaq lost 0.2% on the week, closing at 2190 bringing its YTD gains to 38.9%, while the S&P 500 finished the week flat but still up 22.5% on the year and the Russell 2000 lost 0.4%, stemming its yearly gains to 20.2%.
Despite the slow week, markets opened sharply lower on Tuesday after ratings agency Moody's indicated that the US and UK would need to take steps towards reducing deficits in order to avoid threats to their triple A credit ratings, which sent many investors heading for the exits early in the session. Tuesday's downward move was offset however by a higher open on Thursday following better than expected trade deficit data for October which led to the mixed performance on the week.
Despite the slow week for market driving news, there were further signs of moderate continued recovery, as retail sales for November, Preliminary Michigan Sentiment for December, and October business inventories all managed to beat consensus estimates by modest margins. As a result of the lack of definitive direction on the week, the S&P 500 finished largely mixed, but was led by Utilities, up 3.6%, with Financials leading the laggards, down 1.6%.
What should investors look for this week? Earnings releases pick up moderately; expect results from Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) on Tuesday before the bell, followed after the close by Adobe Systems (NASDAQ: ADBE). On Thursday morning Carnival Cruise Lines (NYSE: CCL), Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS), Fed Ex (NYSE: FDX), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD) are expected to report, followed after the close by Accenture (NYSE: CAN), Nike (NYSE: NKE), Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL), Palm, (NASDAQ: PALM) and Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM).
Economic releases for the week begin with PPI and Core PPI for November along with Empire Manufacturing for December at 8:30am on Tuesday, followed at 9:00am by Net Long-term TIC Flows for October and Capacity Utilization and Industrial Production for November at 9:15am. On Wednesday, look for Building Permits, Housing Starts, CPI and Core CPI, all for November, released together at 8:30am, followed by weekly crude inventories at 10:30 am and the FOMC Rate decision at 2:15pm. The week wraps up on Thursday with weekly initial jobless claims and continuing claims at 8:30am followed by Leading Indicators for November and Philadelphia Fed data from December at 10:00am.
Conference schedules for the week will be light, beginning on Tuesday in San Francisco with the Roth Capital Partners Medical Device Conference. On Wednesday Credit Suisse hosts their New York Retail Roundup while Raymond James will hold their IT Supply Chain Conference which is also being held in New York.
Enzo Biochem (NYSE: ENZ), a vertically integrated biotechnology company engaged in the research, development, manufacture, licensing and marketing of innovative health care products, technologies and services based on molecular and cellular techniques, reported results for its first fiscal quarter of 2010 for the period ended October 31, 2009. During the period, ENZ posted significantly improved results, posting operating revenues of $25.2 million, a 19% improvement in operating revenues compared to the comparable period in the previous year along with a Gross profit increase of 63%, to a record $13.3 million. Organic core product sales growth in the company's Life Sciences division topped 26%, while the Clinical Labs division posted a 36% increase in revenues and improved gross margins.