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Ahead of Wall Street

November 14, 2012

(Note: This is Mark Vickery, substituting for Sheraz Mian while he is away.)

Starved for any new information with which to feed market sentiment this morning, we are happy to see the Producer Price Index (PPI) survey. Good news here for those fearing exploding inflation levels: prices were down in October relative to September both on the headline number (-0.2% vs. +1.19%, respectively) and minus food and energy prices (-0.2%, unchanged).

Retail sales were also down: -0.3% vs. +1.3% in September. Ex-autos and gas, this number was unchanged in October vs. +1.2% in September. To paraphrase Mark Twain: "Rumors of runaway inflation have been greatly exaggerated."

More and more pundits and analysts seem to be expressing certitude the powers that be in Congress will effectively get their arms around the Fiscal Cliff issue. Certainly this is the single-biggest problem facing the US economy. While it may be suitable to quote that other bastion of American quotability, Yogi Berra -- "It ain't over 'til it's over" --  it does appear as if the deep crevasse of doubt following the resolution of the General Election is resulting in less overall fear a week later.

In earnings news this morning, Cisco Systems' (CSCO - Analyst Report) notably good quarter, especially in light of the negative fortunes having befallen Big Tech this earnings season, has sent the company's stock up over 7% in the pre-market today. Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF - Analyst Report) beat EPS expectations this morning, posted an impressive year-over-year revenue jump and guided higher for full-year 2012.

European conglomerate Tyco International (TYC - Analyst Report) missed expectations in the quarter, reporting a loss on in-line revenue that was nevertheless down year over year. Shares are selling off before today's opening bell. Staples (SPLS - Analyst Report) reported a one-cent beat on EPS but missed slightly on revenue expectations.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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