NEW YORK (
) -- Judging by Wednesday's
Dow Jones Industrial Average
, investors are buying into the idea that Democrats and Republicans will be able to come together this holiday season and stop short of the fiscal cliff.
That's especially good news for the economy because a speedy resolution will go a long ways toward getting small businesses back in the spending mood. Deutsche Bank pointed out that how important that is for the economy in a note to clients Wednesday.
"There is ample evidence that the fiscal cliff is already having a meaningful impact on business sentiment, especially small businesses which account for nearly 75% of hiring in the US," the firm said. "In the latest NFIB survey, 39% of small businesses indicated that government regulations and taxes were their number one concern, eclipsing 'poor sales' which has been their main issue for most of the past four years."
As for Thursday's scheduled news,
Barnes & Noble
is slated to report its third-quarter results before the opening bell, and the average estimate of analysts polled by
is for a loss of 11 cents a share on revenue of $1.91 billion.
Shares of the New York-based book seller, which completed its Nook digital reader partnership with
in early October, are up roughly 11% so far in 2012, but based on Wednesday's closing price of $16.05, the stock remains well below its 52-week high of $26 on April 30.
The sell side is bearish with five of the seven analysts covering the stock at either hold (4) or underperform (1), and the 12-month median price target of $17 implying limited upside from current levels.
Other companies due to report early Thursday include
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
Isle of Capri Casinos
Tiffany & Co.
The late roster features
Christopher & Banks
Pacific Sunwear of California
Thursday's economic calendar includes weekly initial and continuing jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET; the second estimate of third-quarter gross domestic product at 8:30 a.m. ET; and pending home sales for October at 10:30 a.m. ET.
The consensus view for GDP calls for growth of 2.8%, up from from the initial estimate of 2%, according to
. Longtime market watcher Ed Yardeni of Yardeni Research noted in emailed commentary on Wednesday that consumer spending has likely provided a big boost to GDP and that favorable data on exports, residential investment and inventories should also contribute to the higher growth.
Yardeni was optimistic about the fourth quarter as well, forecasting GDP growth of 2.8%.
"Rebuilding activities related to Hurricane Sandy should provide a big boost to economic growth during November and December, and early next year," he wrote. "In other words, the storm surge could partly offset the fiscal cliff if we fall off of it. In addition, many corporations are significantly boosting their dividend payouts now, anticipating that the tax rate on such income will increase sharply next year."
And finally, it was a busy after-hours session with Dow component
announcing a 25% boost to its annual dividend, bringing the payout of 75 cents a share; and shares of
slumping after the specialty retailer gave fourth-quarter earnings guidance of 36 to 41 cents a share, well below the consensus view for a profit of 54 cents a share.
Written by Michael Baron in New York.
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