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Post Irene, the World Looks Sunnier…For Now By Charles Payne

For the most part, we dodged a bullet, although the damage and clean up for Irene will be in the billions of dollars. Then there is lost productivity as millions are without power today and probably for most of the week. Still, there is an after-the-storm calm as the focus is back to daily lives, which have been anything but calm for too many people. For the stock market, this is a different kind of Monday as the news from Europe is upbeat rather than end of the world. Two major banks in Greece are merging to stay ahead of nationalization. The second and third largest banks, RFG Eurobank Ergasias and Alpha Bank, will have a combined 146.0 billion Euro in assets and might be able to weather what many observers believe will be an eventual bankruptcy for Greece.

In addition, Italy will try to sell bonds in the open market, skipping the assistance from the ECB, when it auctions 3.75 billion Euros in ten year bonds and 4.25 billion Euros in bonds that expire in 2014 and 2018. So, a big fat Greek wedding and amore in Italy have set the right tone to go along with the post Irene relief rally. There is also scuttlebutt that Bernanke's comments may be more positive than initially thought. Some are saying the Fed gave the United States a vote of confidence, suggesting that while excruciatingly slow, the nation will not slip into a double-dip recession. I'm not sure that's what he said. The more responsible takeaway goes hand in hand with warnings about Hurricane Irene, prepare for the worst.

The market is going to come out of the gate nicely but will need a big week of positive economic surprises (not to be confused with positive economic news) to make up a large swath of lost ground. The Dow has room to 11,500, and then the big upside test begins at 11,900. On the downside, 10,700 is a critical must hold support point.

Personal Income and Spending

Personal income climbed 0.3% in July, which was in line with some estimates, and slightly below other consensus readings. On the other hand, personal spending surged by 0.8%, which is well above the 0.5% the Street expected. Spending came at the expense of savings, which tumbled to 5.0% from 5.5% month to month.

Friday sees the latest on employment, and it's one of those deals where the number could be miserable but also beat the Street. One thing for sure is our employment situation is dismal, especially among young adults and men of all ages. Only 48.8% of the youth (16 to 24) are employed, this is the lowest percentage ever, since this series has been kept. Back in 1969, more than 95% of men ages 24 to 55 worked; today, that number has plunged to 81.0%. So any kind of "positive" could move the market needle, although we need robust numbers to turn the country around.


Navigating the Aftermath of Irene
By: Brian Sozzi, Equity Research Analyst


With taped up windows all ready, I was actively braced for a serious storm to arrive on the doorstep. Some residences along the coastline of Long Island are now sharing space with the twin bill of seaweed and assorted saltwater fish. However, I don't think the worst case scenario came about, at least for NYC and its surroundings. I think my thought mirrors the general feeling held by residents up and down the East Coast regarding Hurricane Irene; it just didn't live up to expectations as the next unprecedented natural disaster. Yes, there are personal accounts of heartache and disturbance. In the eyes of the stock market, however, one has to assess the entire picture, and Irene was sold as a havoc causer that didn't truly relegate the East Coast to the Lost Coast of the Atlantic.

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Final note: It looks like Princeton Professor Alan Krueger is going to step in as the head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Make no mistake; this guy is far to the left. A couple years ago he proposed adding a 5% "consumption tax", much like a VAT tax. His idea back in 2009 was to stimulate the economy by implementing this 5% tax on everything in 2011. The idea is people would spend a lot (during a recession, mind you) in anticipation of everything costing more in two years. Could you imagine if taxes went up right now? Scary stuff.