No trading on Wall Street today. The financial markets are closed in observance of Martin Luther King Day. Interestingly, it is the third Monday in the past four weeks that the markets have been closed. Trading was also stopped on Christmas Day and New Year's Day, both of which fell on a Monday.
The Dow industrials closed out last week with another record close, gaining 41.10 points to 12,556.08. Both the Dow and the Nasdaq were up 1.1 percent for the week. The biggest mover, however, was oil. Despite gaining $1.11 on Friday, crude was still down 6 percent for the week and more than 13 percent so far in 2007. Eventually the declines have to show up at the pump, don't they?
When investors return to work tomorrow they will be faced with a series of key economic reports and events. The highlight of the week will probably be the appearance on Thursday by Ben Bernanke before a congressional committee. The chairman of the Federal Reserve Board will be grilled by members on the economy, interest rates and a number of other issues. Also out this week will be reports on producer and consumer inflation. Friday will also bring the monthly report on home construction and building permits. All of these reports will put a cap on 2006. The inflation numbers should be held in check because of declining oil prices and the housing numbers will likely reflect the slowdown that has brought construction to a halt in many areas. ***** Now that Charger fans no longer have a dog in the hunt they may join a lot of other football fans who have jumped on the bandwagon for the New Orleans Saints. The team won again over the weekend and is just one game away from the Super Bowl. Of course, Charger fans have a reason to like the Saints. The team is being led by Drew Brees who quarterbacked the Chargers for several seasons. The Big Easy is also getting support from the folks at Walt Disney. The company announced on Friday that it will hold its annual shareholders meeting later this year in New Orleans.