Updated from 5 a.m. EST
NEW YORK (
) -- A short week because of Christmas on Friday won't be devoid of economic data for investors to crunch. Crammed between Tuesday and Thursday are data on new-home sales, consumer sentiment, durable-goods orders, jobless claims and revisions to the estimate for gross domestic product.
Most of the data is expected to lean toward the positive, and that's how poll participants in
latest sentiment survey view the upcoming trading week.
As of 6:35 a.m. EST Monday, 60.1%, or 377 of the 627 votes cast, were bullish, while 21.2%, or 133 votes, were bearish. Neutral was at 18.7%, or 117 votes, somewhat above what it has been in recent weeks, perhaps because better economic data could mean the
will begin raising rates sooner rather than later. Rates of near 0% have helped stocks rebound since the lows in March.
Companies reporting earnings this week include
Commercial banks was viewed as the sector most likely to rise this week, while integrated oil placed second. Last week saw
reach agreements to pay back funds borrowed under the U.S. government's Troubled Asset Relief Program. In the oil sector,
last week said it would purchase
for more than $40 billion in stock.
The precious metals sector was seen as the sector most likely to post declines this week, likely owing to the fact that gold has fallen about 10% since hitting highs earlier this month because of the strengthening dollar.
In corporate news Monday,
, a maker of mining equipment, signed a definitive agreement to acquire
mining-equipment division for $1.3 billion in cash.
> > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll
The poll closes at 9:15 a.m.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
ended last week with a loss of 1.4%, while the
dipped 0.4%. The declines followed word from
that they expected profit shortfalls.
ended the week with a gain of 1%, as companies such as
posted better-than-expected earnings.
U.S. futures suggested stocks were headed for a higher opening Monday. The market closes early on Thursday and is closed on Friday for Christmas.
Asian stocks ended mixed Monday, while shares in Europe were modestly higher as of 6:35 a.m.
Here is a wrap-up of our other polls:
What was the most successful initial public offering of last week? Not what the readers of
thought it would be.
While all three of the deals that priced last week failed to meet expectations,
Cobalt International Energy
, which was chosen by 53.2% of voters as the IPO that would be most successful, actually took the biggest hit after its debut on the
New York Stock Exchange
Kraton Performance Polymers
, which 15.6% of voters thought would be the most successful, offered 10.3 million shares on Thursday for $13.50, significantly below its expected range of $16 to $18 each.
tried to push
away, and is determined to keep shoving until Kraft falls over and gives up the idea of taking over the British confectioner. Cadbury's CEO Todd Stitzer even flew all the way to New York to make his case with the company's investors and analysts this week.
Stitzer seemed to get his message across quite clearly, especially given that Kraft's bid was worth 734 pence a share, or about $16.3 billion, as of Dec. 18, which wasn't very impressive next to Cadbury's closing price of 786.50 pence a share on Friday.
Kraft's stubborn refusal to budge is maddening for Cadbury and its investors, but from a practical standpoint, it's understandable. It's not like any other party has actually come forward to make a rival bid for Cadbury, so there hasn't been much of an incentive for Kraft to raise its own.
All of this, of course, is mere prelude to the results of the poll that we posted about the possible permutations of the deal the past week. And the results? Most readers of
, 57.2%, suggest that Kraft should walk away from the deal before it gets dragged into a bidding war and gets burned. Only 10.6% of the voters felt Kraft should hike up the bid and swat away the other potential suitors. About 32.2% of the readers took the middle ground and said Kraft should raise its offer slightly without overextending itself.
We asked readers last week to wager on who would be the next sponsor to terminate its contract with Tiger Woods.
The greatest percentage of voters, 42.7%, felt that
Gillette brand would be the next to say goodbye to Woods. And indeed, this past week the company announced that it would be phasing him out from its ads as he takes a break from the golf. Perhaps not an official "termination" of the sponsorship, but close.
The next highest proportion of
readers, 38.7%, said they believed TAG Heuer would be the next to drop Woods from their deal. And indeed, on Friday a Swiss daily reported that the company's CEO said TAG will be removing Woods from all of its ad campaigns in the US, due to the controversy surround the billion-plus dollar golfer.
-- Written by Joseph Woelfel and Ty Wenger in New York.