November 13, 2012
(Note: This is Mark Vickery, substituting for Sheraz Mian while he is away.)
With 3rd quarter earnings season beginning to wind down and before holiday season begins for retailers toward the end of this month, fearful scenarios pertaining to the issue of the Fiscal Cliff remain front and center. But the thing is: what is there to say about it?
Until Congress sits down and forges a workable compromise that does not suddenly reduce funds for Social Security, the Defense industry and a host of other federal programs, we can be expected to go over this Fiscal Cliff and usher in economic disaster beginning January of next year. I tend to see it more as a fiscal waterfall -- one that we are drifting down the river toward, in a wooden barrel controlled by Rep. John Boehner, Sen. Harry Reid and a handful of others.
Speculative imagery aside, European markets dipped during Tuesday trading due to another persistent issue the global economy is having trouble reckoning with: Greece's debt management. Though the country passed its austerity budget yesterday, today there is still a disconnect between Greece's creditors and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding when it is expected to meet its monetary targets. Basically, creditors are giving Greece a couple more years to reach its targets, but the IMF want a more stringent policy over the long term (out to 2020).
Earnings-wise, Home Depot (HD - Free Report) beats earnings estimates and guided higher. The company is up in pre-market trading, albeit slightly, and this news can be seen as another step toward a strengthening housing market. Today after the closing bell, networking giant Cisco Systems (CSCO - Free Report) reports quarterly earnings -- the last of the important tech firms. Bear in mind this has been far from a terrific earnings season for the tech industry.
Speaking of Big Tech, another main player at Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) has found the door. Steve Sinofsky, the President of Microsoft's Windows division, is stepping down. Following Microsoft Surface's modest initial sales, the man behind Windows 8 is "pursuing other opportunities." This follows a trend not only at Microsoft but Apple (AAPL - Free Report) as well, and as if Big Tech hasn't had enough challenges in the market lately, MSFT shares are down ahead of the bell today.