On Friday the Dow fell 60 points in the morning but recovered over the afternoon closing the session up 3 points while the S&P lost one point to 1411. Similarly flat closes were experienced across most other markets, with the exception of US bonds where the ten-year yield dropped 8 basis points to 1.75%.
Wall Street was buoyed by a September quarter GDP growth result of 2.0% year on year compared to expectations of 1.8%. The housing sector was a solid performer, and retail spending picked up the pace, although income growth fell behind. The largest influence on the figure was the increase in government spending, most of which was military. The upcoming fiscal cliff will however serve to put an end to government spending boosts and has the potential to plunge the US economy into recession.
Hurricane Sandy is now making its presence felt along the east coast with expectations of the potential cost of damage to run into the billions.
We now move into the last week of presidential campaigning ahead of next Tuesday's election. It's manufacturing PMI week, with the US figure out on Thursday. It's also unemployment week, with the private sector number out on Wednesday and non-farm payrolls on Friday. We'll see personal income and spending tonight, the Case-Shiller house price index and consumer confidence on Tuesday, the Chicago PMI on Wednesday, construction spending, chain store sales and vehicle sales on Thursday, and factory orders on Friday.
Thursday is manufacturing PMI day for Australia, China and the UK, with the eurozone following up this month on the Friday. Australia will also see new home sales tomorrow, building approvals and private sector credit on Wednesday, the RP Data-Rismark house price index on Thursday, and the September quarter PPI on Friday, all ahead of next week's Cup Day rate decision.
On the local stock front, the AGM season rolls on this week, and there is a wealth of resource sector production reports due. We'll also see quarterly updates from REITs GPT (GPT) and CFS Retail (CFX) on Monday and Tuesday respectively, an update from wealth manager Henderson Group (HGG) on Thursday along with a full-year result from BT Management (BTT). And National Bank (NAB) will officially release its full-year result on Wednesday.