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Ahead of Wall Street - August 15, 2012

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August 15, 2012

This is Mark Vickery, covering for Sheraz Mian while he is away this week.

On a data-heavy morning, we have results for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Empire State Index, as well as a couple earnings reports from companies on the S&P 500. As for the results, some are up, some are down, and some are right where they had been earlier.

The headline CPI number was unchanged for July, as it was in June, and the core number -- which removes food and energy costs -- was up 0.1%. These were both a shade down from expectations, as were the year-over-year numbers, which were 1.4% on the headline and 2.1% minus food and energy. Analysts had expected roughly 1.6-1.7% on the headline number.

The Empire State Index, a survey tracking manufacturing in New York State, swung down to negative 5.85 in August, following a positive 7.39 reading in July. This is the first negative reading since last fall and down much more than expected, which points toward softness in New York factories. Keep in mind, however, this survey is prone to volatility month to month, especially relative to national monthly economic indicators.

We expect results from Industrial Production, Capacity Utilization and Homebuilding Indexes later today. Taken all together, we should have a much more complete picture about macro trends as we look ahead to the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2012.

In earnings news, Target (TGT - Free Report) put up some healthy numbers, beating on both revenues and earnings while raising guidance for fiscal 2012. Deere & Co. (DE - Free Report) missed its consensus EPS estimate on weaker international agriculture business, particularly in South America. Cisco Systems (CSCO - Free Report) reports after the bell, which should provide another piece to the puzzle of technology trends.

Finally, Washington DC-based power investment firm The Carlyle Group (CG - Free Report) has acquired that well-known bank of multimedia products, Getty Images, from Hellman & Friedman for $3.3 billion. That must be a heck of a lot of pictures of movie stars.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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