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No News May Not be Good News for Markets

May 22, 2000|Reuters

Investors have little on their plate today. No big economic numbers. No big central bank meeting. No big earnings report. No problem? Wrong. The sheer lack of broad, sector-wide developments along with hard-hitting economic data or Federal Reserve events leaves the market to nit-pick. That, plus the dwindling trading volume of summer brings the possibility of volatility that could continue to hurt stock prices. Wall Street is essentially on hold until it gets a hint of the Fed's next move. And until then, anything can happen. Data due this week could have an exaggerated effect on trading, analysts said. That includes retail numbers from LJR Redbook due Tuesday, the revision to the first-quarter's gross domestic product along with weekly jobless claims due Thursday, and personal income and durable goods data Friday. Numbers near the end of the week are important, analysts said, but not nearly as key as June data. Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan will speak about banking Thursday via satellite before a National Assn. of Urban Bankers conference, where, analysts say, he is unlikely to comment on the markets. Still, that could be the week's highlight, they quipped.

No members of the Dow Jones industrial average are due to report earnings this week, and 97% of the Standard & Poor's 500 companies have already posted results, according to research firm First Call/Thomson Financial. Canada's Bombardier Inc. and British Airways are expected to report results Tuesday, and software maker Novell Inc., Gillette Co. and CVS Corp. are among those holding meetings for shareholders or analysts.

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