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Are Investors Ready for PMI Tuesday, Fed Wednesday, ECB Thursday, and Jobs Friday?


Welcome to indicator-a-palooza week. But the news from Europe could overshadow all.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Just when we have the earnings season fire hose under control, the economic fire hose pressure goes aortic on us. The macro-driven markets should have a fitful time deciphering what all the numbers mean, but perhaps they should look no further than recent statements from ECB's Draghi and other key economic leaders in the EU. A conga line of euro-supportive comments sent the markets ripping-ly higher last week, putting the Dow (^DJI) and S&P 500 (SPY) close to annual highs while giving a much needed facelift to all things euroland -- DAX (^GDAXI), CAC (^FCHI) and FXI (FXI) included.

So where are we? August is where. So figure 30% are on the couch watching the Olympics, 30% are on the beach, 30% are under their desks, 9% are at their desks making thousands of trades per second and, of course, 1% is on the French Riviera. Those looking for August fireworks like last year may be disappointed. But don't fret since September, historically the markets' worst month, may give you the daily flow of manic news adrenaline that we have all become addicted to and weary of at the same time. Bottom line: It's the markets, folks, and while the story may change, the markets remain the same -- "Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. John Bonham on drums…."

For a comment on each of the 30 worries facing investors this week, click on the link below or scroll down for a text-only version of this column. Also see What is "Lloyd's Wall of Worry?" at the bottom of this page.

Wall of Worry: Text-only

QE: Fed Ben is still sitting on his remaining pile of chips, not going all in just yet as he perversely waits for a worse economic hand to play.

US ECONOMY: Heat wave continues to burn up America's mid-section. Can you spread zinc oxide on an entire country?

UNEMPLOYMENT: With the US Presidential and Congressional elections now within sight, you can be sure that nothing will get done to improve this situation in the near term. Irony, much?

INVESTOR SENTIMENT: Somewhere in the North Atlantic atop the massive island glacier that just broke off of Greenland.

HOUSING CRISIS: Sales of existing homes take a sharp turn downward as people realize that buying a house that someone else doesn't want with money they don't have may not be a good long-term financial proposition.

CENTRAL BANKS: Globally coordinated economic stimulus coming -- to be followed by globally coordinated economic confusion.

EUROPEAN ECONOMY: "Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care…?"

THE EUROPEAN UNION: To re-phrase and update a classic Churchill-ism, "We are 17 countries divided by a common currency."

SOVEREIGN DEBT: For once 7 is not a lucky number.

SPAIN: Stop the charade and drop the "S" already.

10-YEAR TREASURY YIELDS: After taxes and inflation, this safe haven investment is still safe, but not much else.

SYRIA: Officially horrific and setting up as a civil war/proxy war country unless something gets done quickly.

VOLATILITY: The VIX (^VIX) is dead, the VIX is dead. Long live the VIX!

HAL: You ever been hypnotized?
Lloyd: No.
HAL: You ever been hypnotized?
Lloyd: No.
HAL: You ever been hypnotized?
Lloyd: No.
HAL: Tell me every stock you plan to buy this week.
Lloyd: 150,000 shares of...

CHINA: How about front-loading your next five-year plan, which kicks in in 2013. Actually, make that your next few five-year plans.

STOCK MARKET TECHNICALS: They're working again. Why? Because nothing else is.

LIBOR: As for the mega banks, well, "…they did a bad bad thing…"


INDIA: Pulling back on its gold purchases, which is unlike India and counter-trend culturally. On the other hand, spending its money on food and shelter is with-trend and culturally sane.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE: Feels like we are one more hit away from seeing a surge in the number of people growing their own food and darning their own clothing.

US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: Quiet August coming up? Don't count on it.

CREDIT MARKETS: "You're not the boss of me, Mario Draghi and Ben Bernanke! Except when you choose to be, that is."

THE CLIFF: If the driving directions someone gives you say to drive through a brick wall, my advice is to take an alternative route.

GREECE: Likely working on a severance package and a letter explaining that the country would like to spend more time with its family.

CORN: If we don't get drought and heat relief soon, it will not only be more expensive, but it will only come in popped form.

Just got back from Europe and let me tell you that all the fears about the euro are silly, since paying for things worked just fine. Did I mention that I used my credit card for all purchases?

ECB: Waiting on that big bang fix. "If not now, when?"

EARNINGS SEASON: Almost done, almost good, and almost definitely going to be less good next time.

SOUTH KOREA: Proximity to China used to be a bonanza, but with Big Red slowing, it's more like sitting next to the sick guy on the airplane.

ITALY: Sicily looking vulnerable. If the food wasn't so good, Italy's boot would kick it over to Greece.

What Is Lloyd's Wall of Worry?
by Lloyd Khaner

Welcome to my at-a-glance guide to the issues facing investors this week -- a unique tool for traders and money managers.

Typically the term "wall of worry" refers to the entire body of concerns influencing stock market action. When the wall is high, meaning the market is nervous, stocks tend to get cheaper.

This wall of worry is even more specific. Every week I list the exact concerns in the marketplace and use the list to help me make buying and selling decisions. As I like to say, "Buy fear, sell cheer."

In other words, once the the wall rises above 15 blocks, start looking for deals. If the worry count sinks below 10, consider selling; prices have likely peaked.
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