(By Rich Bieglmeier) Stocks continue to churn, just sputtering in place on anemic, uninterested volume. Is all of Wall Street on vacation? Sure seems like it, or maybe the high frequency trading firms have toned it down following Knight Capital Group's (KCG
As our regular readers know, iStock likes it best when the NASDAQ takes the reins. Today, the index edged a bit higher and might be on its way to our target of 3060ish. We really wish there was more to report, but when the indexes essentially flat line on limp volume, what else is there to write about? These days truly are the summer doldrums.
Maybe this morning's Jobless Claims report can give the indexes the kick in the rear they need to shake off the stall. Economists believe 365,000 folks applied for initial benefits last week. With the back-to-school shopping season in full bloom, iStock expects the result to remain tame and come in close to target, maybe plus/minus 1,000-2,000.
We would also like to see a positive result from Housing Starts. It would be more evidence that housing is possibly, maybe firming up. Although, Yale University professor Robert Shiller says housing prices don't have enough momentum to call a bottom just yet. He believes there is still an overhang of inventory and the potential for more foreclosures to flood the market. Another six months of rising prices and the ability to absorb supply, and then we'll know for sure that housing stands on a firm foundation.
On to second quarter earnings; only a handful of companies have a Q2 profit checkup remaining. It's been an OK quarter as year-over-year sales are up a hair under 4%, operating earnings are in line with revenues as they've tacked on 4.26%, but as reporting earnings barely topped 2011, increasing 0.39%.
The bad news is that analysts think third quarter profits will fall. If earnings have peaked and start to backup; investors can expect stocks to follow, unless Ben Bernanke rides to the rescue on a money horse.
We'll be back tomorrow, hopefully with a recap of a more exciting day and our weekly iEstimates feature. iStock's PetSmart, Inc. (PETM) pick worked out fairly well last night. We'll work hard to see if we can follow up with another on Friday.