Tuesday Morning Preview: FOMC Meeting and a Slew of Earnings

by: TraderRob

Bernanke and the crew will get started bright and early behind the collasal locked mohagany doors of the FOMC board room Tuesday morning, while traders will ernestly focus on the information at hand.

A slew of earnings from Ashland (NYSE:ASH) (0.71 EPS est.), Corning (NYSE:GLW) (0.42 EPS est.), Delta Airlines (NYSE:DAL) (-0.24 EPS est), DuPont (NYSE:DD) (0.41 EPS est.), and Sherwin Williams (NYSE:SHW) (0.52 EPS est.) will keep pre-market traders on their toes. ASH will provding insight into managers' expectations of crude oil price strength, based on announcements of layoffs, the effects of an extremely narrow crack spread, and greatly reduced capacity, on the bottom line of this East coast industry player.

GLW will add to the demand for consumer electronics conversation, as new orders for screens of computers and hand held devices will be the focal point of this release. To finish a weak year of air travel, DAL will help investors gauge the willingness of consumers to splurge on vacations as we look for spending to recover in 2010.

Finally, DD and SHW will combine to tell the story of industrial and consumer growth from a basic materials standpoint. While DD markets polymers to manufacturers of goods, SHW interacts directly with consumers as they make decisions to invest in their homes.

The Case Shiller price index of resold homes in the 20 largest metro areas should grab attention at 9:00 AM, since recently we've seen a stabilization of home prices by this metric. Later at 10:00 AM, Consumer Confidence measured in January is expected to nudge higher from 52.9 to 53.5, while the measure of consumer appetites has wavered around the break-even point since May. Keep an eye on the 4-week bill (11:30 AM) and 2-year note (1:00 PM) auctions, where demand will likely strengthen as the relative safety of Treasury debt becomes more attractive to equity holders following last week's decline.

Monday's recovery on the S&P 500 saw the index stablize at 1096, a technically insignificant level, while the WTI continuous crude oil spot ended the day just above $75/barrel, the U.S. Dollar index held it's ground, Gold failed at $1100, and the 10 Year Treasury yield paused higher to 3.63%. Despite solid numbers from Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) laptop sales, markets found little comfort on a day more reminiscent of a technical pause than a reversal higher. The absence of upside surprises on Tuesday will leave financial markets lower.

Disclosure: Author holds long positions in SCC, DTO and SDS